Elkan Abrahamson of Liverpool law firm Broudie Jackson Canter is representing 450 relatives of people who have died of coronavirus who want an immediate public inquiry. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool lawyer Elkan Abrahamson is representing a group of families who have lost relatives to COVID-19 and are calling for an immediate public inquiry.
In May, Mr Abrahamson himself called for a public inquiry into the UK Government’s response to coronavirus. Now he has agreed to represent the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group which comprises 450 bereaved relatives.
The director and head of major inquiries at Liverpool law firm, Broudie Jackson Canter, said: “A public inquiry is inevitable and essential. I support the group’s call for an immediate limited phase to that Inquiry to prevent future deaths.”
Official figures show that more than 50,000 people in the UK have so far died of, or with, COVID-19. In the last few days, Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College has told a committee of MPs that the number of deaths could have been halved had lockdown been implemented earlier than March 23.
However, Prof Ferguson himself was a member of the Government’s scientific advisory group, Sage, in mid-March when it was “unanimous” in advising the Prime Minister that a lockdown at that stage increased the risk of a deadly second wave of the virus.
The campaign group has identified a range of issues which they believe contributed to the loss of their loved ones:
- The late implementation of lockdown, despite warnings from scientists and real time case studies from other countries across the world.
- Government advice was unclear, leaving the population uncertain of the severity of the situation and unable to appropriately react to the threat.
- The NHS was underprepared and frontline staff lacked adequate equipment and advice to protect both themselves and their patients.
- Care homes were unsupported and unprotected, with the government actively discharging COVID-positive patients into them, leaving the vulnerable to suffer at the hands of the virus.
Matt Fowler, co-founder and spokesperson for the group, said: “With at least 40,000 deaths from COVID-19 recorded in the UK and over a thousand new cases still being reported every day, it has become tragically clear that fatal mistakes have been made by the Government in its handling of the pandemic.
“As the staggering statistics continue to roll in, so too do the stories of personal tragedy, heartache and loss. The crucial fact is that every one of those statistics was a living, breathing person, taken before their time and leaving an empty void in the lives of their families and friends.
“For many, the wounds caused by their loss will never truly heal. For those left behind there is pain, confusion and a sense of having been failed by the system that should be protecting them.”
The group has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and health secretary Matt Hancock, saying that now is the time for a public inquiry to begin in order to establish key learnings which could help to prevent a second wave of infection.