Solicitors welcome reports of an inquiry into COVID-19 deaths of NHS and care workers
Solicitors have welcomed the news that there will be an investigation into the death of hundreds of frontline NHS and social care workers from coronavirus.
Posted on 13 August 2020
The Independent online newspaper has reported that ministers have asked medical examiners in England and Wales to review the deaths of more than 620 nurses, doctors and care home staff infected with coronavirus to determine whether they caught the virus from their work.
Medical examiners, who are senior doctors, will retrospectively review the deaths of all frontline health and social care workers and report to the coroner where necessary. They will also have to state whether they “have reason to suspect the COVID-19 infection was acquired in employment”.
Suspected deaths of NHS workers or carers as a result of catching COVID-19 at work will then have to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which may result in an investigation.
The Office for National Statistics have said that 625 health and social care workers have died as a result of coronavirus in England and Wales.
Leigh Day solicitor Emma Jones, who is looking into the deaths in care homes during COVID-19, said:
“I welcome the news that an investigation is now taking place and the government has acknowledged the 625 deaths of frontline workers needs to be investigated.
“However, it is hard not to think that this investigation is too late. The government has not done enough since the outbreak of the virus to protect the workers on the frontline.
“I hope that this investigation is just the beginning, and more is done to help to protect key workers and those most vulnerable to the virus.”
Leigh Day solicitor Tessa Gregory, representing the Ubele Initiative, which is seeking legal action on behalf of BAME communities said:
“Hospitals are already risk assessing workers more susceptible to coronavirus which includes those from BAME communities but more needs to be done in order to protect the most vulnerable from the virus while doing their job on the frontline.”