Hampshire County Council 'ready' for potential national investigation into Covid-19 pandemic

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EVIDENCE is being gathered by a council in anticipation of a nationwide investigation into the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has already confirmed an investigation into the commercial deals struck by the government in response to the pandemic.

But Hampshire County Council is gearing up for a more in-depth investigation, which would look at every aspect of how the pandemic has been handled.

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This could range from the way care homes were managed, the impact on people's mental health and what more could have been done to prevent deaths.

The county council's director of adult’s health and care, Graham Allen, has insisted that no stone will be left unturned.

He said: ‘I have had no formal contact regarding an inquiry, but what we have been doing is making sure we have good records of actions we have taken, decisions made and issues that arose.

‘This is all being collected together and we have a library of thousands of documents that we're doing through.

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‘While we haven't been notified of anything, we felt it was important to have all the information and evidence ready, just in case we are ever asked to submit it.’

Cllr David Harrison, Liberal Democrat spokesman for health and social care, said: 'In some countries, national inquiries into lessons learned from the pandemic have already been confirmed.

‘I'm intrigued by this, particularly with the issues of care homes being locked down and relatives not being able to visit them, and people dying alone in hospitals.

‘I wonder if that will form part of this country’s national inquiry.’

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The NAO has confirmed that it is carrying out a ‘broad and varied programme’ of investigations into the pandemic.

Investigations on government preparedness, spending in response to the pandemic and the wider emergency response have already been published.

Further investigations into border management, employment support schemes and the government's contract with Randox - which supplied lab testing goods and services - will be published later this year.

Mr Allen added: ‘I think there will be a huge amount of learning to be done from this pandemic, especially in terms of preparedness, decision making and our response.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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