Doctors are taking legal action to force the UK government to launch an independent inquiry into its failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment for NHS staff and other frontline care workers.
News of the challenge, brought by the Doctors Association UK (DAUK) and the Good Law project, comes as the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was withdrawing a model of protective goggles – “Tiger Eye” protectors – from use because they offered insufficient protection.
A pre-action letter sent to the DHSC says an immediate independent inquiry is essential to ensure sufficient PPE can be made available as soon as possible and to ensure healthcare workers are properly equipped for any second or third wave of Covid-19.
A spokesperson for the Doctors’ Association UK said: “It is a tragedy that nearly 200 healthcare workers in the UK have died due to Covid-19. We had a pandemic stockpile of PPE lacking essential items like full gowns and eye protection; other equipment was out of date. There has been recurrent and systemic failure of the PPE supply chain, leaving staff in some instances with makeshift or no PPE.
“Our action will bring an urgent public inquiry to ensure that lessons are learned, and that families are heard. We need to ensure that no doctor, nurse or healthcare worker is put in harm’s way in this manner ever again, and the families of frontline healthcare workers who have died get much-needed answers.”