Health secretary challenged over lack of PPE by father of doctor who died
Matt Hancock began to take questions from members of the public and was then challenged by Intisar Chowdhury, the son of Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury who warned the government about a lack of PPE prior to his death with Covid-19.
Mr Chowdhury asked Mr Hancock: “When he was unwell he wrote an open letter to the prime minister appealing for more PPE for NHS frontline workers, it was a request that was ignored, two weeks later he passed away and since then over 100 NHS and social care workers have passed away from contracting the virus.
“Do you regret not taking my dad’s concerns, my 11-year-old sister dad’s concerns and my wife’s husband’s concerns seriously enough for my dad that we’ve all lost?”
The health secretary replied: “Intisar, I’m really sorry about your dad’s death and I have seen the comments you’ve made and what you’ve said in public and I think it’s very brave of you to be speaking out in public.
“We took very very seriously what your father said and we’ve been working around the clock to ensure that there’s enough protective equipment and in the case of anybody who works in the NHS or in social care and has died from coronavirus we look into it in each case to find out the reasons where they might have caught it and what lessons we can learn.”
Mr Hancock was then asked to publicly acknowledge that mistakes had been made.
Mr Chowdhury said: “The public is not expecting the government to handle this perfectly – none of us are expecting perfection, we’re expecting progression.
“We just want you to openly acknowledge that there have been mistakes in handling the virus, especially to me and to so many families that have really lost loved ones as a result of this virus and probably as a result of the Government not handling it seriously enough.
“Openly acknowledging your mistake is not an admission of guilt, it is genuinely just making you seem more human.”
Mr Hancock replied: “I think that it is very important that we’re constantly learning about how to do these things better and I think listening to the voices on the front line is a very, very important part of how we improve.”