Covid inquiry chairman vows to focus on ‘human impact of pandemic before memories fade’

The Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry will seek to place the experiences of people affected by the pandemic at its forefront, its chairman has said.

Lord Brailsford (pictured) said he wants to ensure the “human impact of the pandemic is captured before memories fade”.

The inquiry has announced it will adopt a thematic approach to its investigations and hearings, covering three themes – health and social care; education and young people; and finance, business and welfare.

For each of these themes, the inquiry will first look at the impact of the pandemic, then the implementation of measures, and finally the key decision-making.

Lord Brailsford said: “I am pleased to announce the structure and sequencing of our hearings and how we intend to establish the facts of the response to the pandemic in Scotland.

“Our approach seeks to bring the experiences of people in Scotland to the forefront of the inquiry’s investigations, ensuring the human impact of the pandemic is captured before memories fade.”

The inquiry was set up to investigate the devolved strategic response to the pandemic in Scotland between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022.

It will establish facts, identify lessons that should be learned, and make recommendations to Scottish ministers.

The first set of impact hearings will deal with health and social care.

Arrangements are being made to invite groups granted core participant status regarding health and social care issues to an inquiry planning meeting with the chairman and senior legal team in late April/early May.

This virtual session will allow the inquiry team to give more information on plans for public impact hearings to begin this autumn, and provide an opportunity for discussion.

The inquiry will hold its first public hearing this summer, as a “scene-setting” evidence session on the epidemiology of Covid-19 in order to provide a factual background to support all further investigations and hearings.

Last month it was confirmed that Covid-19 inquiries for the UK and Scotland will work alongside each other to avoid any duplication of evidence gathering and reporting results.

Lord Brailsford and Baroness Heather Hallett, chairwoman of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, published an agreement setting out how they will work together.

As of March 5 this year, there had been 16,929 deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, according to National Records of Scotland data.

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