Too many NHS staff have died - we need a public inquiry

by Jo Maugham QC

Too many NHS staff have died - we need a public inquiry

by Jo Maugham QC
Jo Maugham QC
Case Owner
Good Law Project is a not for profit that uses strategic litigation for a better world.
11
days to go
£67,830
pledged of £75,000 stretch target from 2,601 pledges
Pledge now
Jo Maugham QC
Case Owner
Good Law Project is a not for profit that uses strategic litigation for a better world.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: July 23, 2020

The Government's response

On 1st July we received a formal response from the Secretary of State in relation to our judicial review for a public inquiry. You can read his response here.

On 11 June 2020, some days after we issue…

Read more

Frontline NHS staff and care workers are putting their lives at risk because of the Government's failure to provide adequate PPE. Doctors are wearing visors made by teenagers on 3D printers. Care workers are being told to share the same mask. The protective gowns that the Government flew in from Turkey are sitting in a warehouse gathering dust - many have been deemed unsafe for use. UK manufacturers who have offered to help are sitting by the phones waiting for Government to respond.

The consequences of these failures are devastating. Hundreds of those on the frontline of this crisis have lost their lives. The Government has said lessons will be learnt in time. But those on the frontline of this crisis can’t afford to wait.

The Government has a legal duty to hold an urgent inquiry into its failures to get adequate PPE to NHS staff and care workers and we are taking legal action along with the Doctors' Association UK to hold them to it. The Government needs to know exactly what has gone wrong, and is continuing to go wrong. Coronavirus is unpredictable, and there are very likely to be future waves. Unless we understand the failings now, unless we learn from them, we risk making the same mistakes all over again.

A society that does not learn from its mistakes is condemned to repeat them.

This is also about getting answers for the families of the individual NHS and social care workers who have lost their lives. Each death will be investigated by a coroner, but without an independent inquiry, it is likely different coroners’ courts will reach inconsistent or conflicting views on the role PPE played in their deaths. The families deserve better.

We believe that such an investigation is required, as a matter of law, by Human Rights Act 1998 s 6 and Schedule 1, Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. You can read our formal letter to Matt Hancock here.

The Claimants: 
The Doctors’ Association UK
The Good Law Project

The details:
Litigation of this scale and importance is undeniably difficult and expensive. The Good Law Project has instructed the best legal team available: Paul Bowen QC, Tim Johnston and Emma Mockford of Brick Court Chambers and Bindmans LLP. Most of the legal work to date is entirely unpaid and the team will work at well below market rates unless the case succeeds.

10% of the sums raised will go to Good Law Project to help it develop and support further litigation to help the public interest. It is our policy only to raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on this litigation. However, if there is a surplus it will go to support and enable other litigation we bring. Our founder, Jo Maugham QC, continues to work unpaid.

Recent contributions

Be a promoter

Your share on Facebook could raise £26 for the case

I'll share on Facebook
Update 1

Jo Maugham QC

July 23, 2020

The Government's response

On 1st July we received a formal response from the Secretary of State in relation to our judicial review for a public inquiry. You can read his response here.

On 11 June 2020, some days after we issued our judicial review claim, the National Audit Office announced it would conduct a review into:

“the preparedness and response in the supply of PPE in England, including the scale of and reasons for shortfalls in supply.  It will cover:

  • How PPE was supplied to NHS and social care organisations before the COVID-19 pandemic started 

  • What government did, between the pandemic emerging in other countries and arriving in the UK, to prepare for the provision of PPE in the NHS and social care organisations

  • How government responded when problems arose in the supply of PPE

  • The scale of problems in the availability of PPE throughout the emergency.”

And would report in the Autumn.

In his response, the Secretary of State places considerable reliance on this work. This reflects a considerable change in his position – he did not rely on it in pre-action correspondence. And he promises: “emerging findings will be shared with officials in late August or early September, which will allow Government to benefit from its findings as soon as possible.”

We do not accept that the NAO’s review discharges the Secretary of State’s legal obligations under Article 2 of the ECHR.  However, it seems to the Claimants – the Doctors’ Association UK, Hourglass and the Good Law Project – that in light of this new work the sensible course of action is to await the outcome of the NAO’s review.

Once we have seen the outcome of this work and these proceedings we will be able to see what further work needs to be done to ensure Government meets its PPE obligations. 


    There are no public comments on this case page.