Covid: 1,500 NHS workers died during pandemic due to government’s ‘negligence to act swiftly’, says charity

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The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation is a charity founded by NHS workers

The Government’s "negligence to act swiftly" at the beginning of the Covid pandemic contributed to the deaths of 1,500 frontline NHS workers, a charity has said.

The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, which is a charity for NHS workers, added that it knew the UK would not be "well-equipped enough to handle Covid-19" and that health service workers would feel the "brunt" of the pandemic.

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This comes in response to the publication of a 150-page report, named ‘Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date’, from the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee, which contain MPs from all parties.

It predominantly focuses on the Government’s response to the pandemic in England, as the committee did not look at steps taken individually by Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The report said the Government approach, which was backed by its scientists, was to try to manage the situation and achieve herd immunity by infection, but that this led to a delay in the first lockdown being introduced and cost thousands of lives.

However, despite criticising the Government’s delayed response to the Covid pandemic, it does touch upon the success of the coronavirus vaccination programme, describing the  vaccine rollout as "one of the most effective initiatives in UK history".

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However, the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation highlights that the report does not take into account the healthcare and social workers who died on the frontline due to “the Government’s negligence to act swiftly”.

Dr Dominic Pimenta, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, said: “[The report] comes as no surprise to us here at Healthcare Workers’ Foundation, as we knew first-hand that the UK wasn’t well-equipped enough to handle Covid-19 and that the NHS would feel the brunt of this, which is exactly what has happened”.

Dr Pimenta added: “Disappointingly, the report also doesn’t take into account the fact that more than 1,500 healthcare and social workers who lost their life on the frontline, which - after the reported findings - can be attributed to the government’s negligence to act swiftly. If things had been done differently, we can only wonder how many lives could have been saved in the process.”

He said that this is why the Healthcare Workers Foundation exists, and that their mission continues to remain true today irrespective of the latest findings.

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“We continue supporting healthcare workers whilst we have to watch the government drag their feet with trying to fix the damages that have been done,” said Dr Pimenta.

“This is extremely disappointing to witness given now we have the evidence to prove how much intervention was and is required.”

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