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MPs from across political divide urge government to publish internal Covid review

MPs from across political divide urge government to publish internal Covid review
Exclusivo: It’s ‘essential’ Department of Health assessment is released, Conservative MP Dan Poulter tells The Independent

MPs from across the political divide are urging the government to immediately publish an internal review into the Covid crise, insisting that refusing to do so “makes a mockery” of Matt Hancock’s claim of being transparent with the British public.

It comes as Boris Johnson faces intense pressure to accelerate the official public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic after the extraordinary seven-hour testimony from former No 10 chief aide Dominic Cummings Semana Anterior.

During the evidence session, Mr Cummings claimed that government fell “disastrously short” of the standards expected and suggested tens of thousands of people died during the crisis “who didn’t need to die” as a result of mistakes.

Writing for O Independente, Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said the country “cannot wait” until spring 2022 – the earliest date set by the prime minister for the statutory inquiry to begin – for questions to be answered.

She stressed the refusal to bring forward the date “makes it all the more baffling that his department [health and social care] is refusing to publish the internal ‘lessons learned’ review it has carried out”.

"O [prime minister’s] spokesperson admitted the Department of Health carried out an internal review into how it handled the Covid pandemic,” Ms Rayner added.

“The review is said to have looked at operational, ‘nuts and bolts’ issues – exactly the sort of issues we can learn lessons from right away.

“If the government truly wants to show they are serious about learning lessons from their mistakes during the pandemic they can do so with one simple step: publish the review immediately.”

Conservative MP Dan Poulter – a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Covid – told O Independente it was “essential” the government commissioned document looking at “what could be done better in future is published”.

Mr Poulter, who has worked on the NHS frontline during the pandemic, adicionado: “The leading government department is the Department of Health and Social Care and it’s good they carried out a review of their own practices – that’s very welcome. But there’s no reason whatsoever not to share that and to make that public.

“That’s part of the process of helping to put things in a better place should we be facing a similar situation with another pandemic which we may well be in the future.”

De acordo com a HuffPost, the review did not look at all aspects of the pandemic and was not undertaken across Whitehall. Instead it focused on the inner workings and practices at the Department of Health and Social Care during the crisis.

The Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who chairs the APPG on Covid, said that the failure to publish the document “makes a mockery” of the health secretary’s claim to MPs this week that the government “is open and transparent”.

“It beggars belief that ministers are still refusing to publish their own review of the lessons learned during the pandemic," ela disse. “The public must not be kept in the dark any longer.”

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, an organisation that has been campaigning for an immediate public inquiry, echoed her comments, dizendo: “In parliament, Matt Hancock claimed that he and the government has a track record of openness, transparency and explanation and that they ‘will keep on with the spirit of openness and transparency’.”

The group’s co-founder, Matt Fowler, Perguntou: “How can they say this with a straight face when they refuse to release the government’s internal lessons learnt review? It makes clear that their refusal to bring the inquiry forward is because they’re scared of scrutiny, not because of impact of resources, as they claim”.

Pressed on the review in the Commons last week as he faced questions over Mr Cummings’ allegations, Mr Hancock told the Green MP Caroline Lucas: “Of course we learn lessons all the way through and we follow the scientific developments that teach us more about this virus all the way through.

“And then we’ll have a full inquiry afterwards to make sure we can learn further lessons for the future," ele adicionou.

A government spokesperson said: “Our focus from the outset of this pandemic has been on saving lives and internal discussions have been held throughout on how we best respond to Covid-19, keep people safe and protect the NHS.

“As is standard practice across departments, an informal lessons learned review was carried out by officials at DHSC to help inform future working practices which assisted during the pandemic so we could continually learn and improve our approach.

“A formal independent inquiry will take place, as announced by the prime minister.”