Vol. 14 No. 2 (2021): A Year after the Pandemic

Why We Must Learn The Lessons Now: A call for a truly independent public inquiry by the UK Government: Consensus from BAPIO Think-tank Focus Group

Indranil Chakravorty MBBS PhD FRCP
St Georges University Hospitals Foundation Trust, London, UK
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
Kailash Chand OBE FRCGP
Rtd General Practitioner, Manchester, UK
Ramesh Mehta OBE MD FRCPCH
British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Bedford, UK

Published 2021-06-11


  • COVID-19,
  • Public Inquiry,
  • Health inequalities

How to Cite

Chakravorty, I., Bamrah, J., Chand, K. ., & Mehta, R. (2021). Why We Must Learn The Lessons Now: A call for a truly independent public inquiry by the UK Government: Consensus from BAPIO Think-tank Focus Group. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion, 14(2), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.38192/14.2.7


The BAPIO Think-tank recommends that the Independent Inquiry establishes;
  1. If the scientists did get the advice right (best practice at the time on protection, prevention of spread, detection of new cases, restriction of movement internal/external), and timely.
  2. Whether the government adhered to its own mantra of ‘following the science’ of acting on scientific evidence
  3. If the policy effectively assessed the risk to and protected key workers, how should this be conducted in the future?
  4. If the government had formed ‘a protective ring’ for Care Homes and if the early policy of encouraging NHS Trusts to discharge patients without repeat testing, compromised the care of other residents and care, home workers,
  5. If the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities and deprived communities was recognised in policy actions, so those at enhanced risk were appropriately prioritised if there was active engagement and co-designed provision of culturally appropriate timely information; if disinformation was tackled, and if there was an enhanced drive to vaccinate those at higher risk.
  6. If there was recognition by the government of public health expert advice that a blanket national policy is ineffective. More local intelligence, engagement, and leadership should tackle the outbreaks seen in different regions.
  7. If there was transparency and efficiency in the financial investment in tackling the pandemic - potential wastage and duplication from unusable PPE and the Nightingale hospitals), and the cost of private firms supplying testing, tracing and other equipment.
  8. Urgently, the health–social care priorities for recovery; whether segregation of facilities, protected allocation of resources in dealing with non-Covid conditions,  how the NHS might continue to function optimally in the event of a third or subsequent waves
  9. If there is action on pressures on the NHS workforce, the impact on their morale, wellbeing and actions that are required to manage these in the future.


  1. COVID Live Update: 152,100,343 Cases and 3,196,193 Deaths from the Coronavirus - Worldometer. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries (accessed 1 May 2021).
  2. Deaths registered weekly in England and Wales, provisional - Office for National Statistics. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/weekending14may2021 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  3. Petition: Hold a Public Inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Petitions - UK Government and Parliament. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/302576 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  4. Petition: Public inquiry into Covid-19 pandemic immediately with the aim of saving lives. Petitions - UK Government and Parliament. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/331877 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  5. MPs question Dominic Cummings on Government decision-making over pandemic - Committees - UK Parliament. https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/81/health-and-social-care-committee/news/155285/mps-question-dominic-cummings-on-government-decisionmaking-over-pandemic/ (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  6. Coronavirus: lessons learnt - Committees - UK Parliament. https://committees.parliament.uk/work/657/coronavirus-lessons-learnt/ (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  7. Leaders speak out about their concerns regarding older people in the context of COVID-19. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/leaders-speak-out-older-people-covid-19 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  8. COVID-19: Imperial researchers model likely impact of public health measures | Imperial News | Imperial College London. Imperial News. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/196234/covid-19-imperial-researchers-model-likely-impact/ (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  9. Coronavirus: Whitty and Vallance faced ‘herd immunity’ backlash, emails show. BBC News. 2020.https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-54252272 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  10. The British and their exceptionalism. Centre for European Reform. https://www.cer.eu/insights/british-and-their-exceptionalism (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  11. Recommendations for Good Practice in Pandemic Preparedness. ;:20.
  12. UK pandemic preparedness. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-pandemic-preparedness/uk-pandemic-preparedness (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  13. Responding to a UK flu pandemic. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responding-to-a-uk-flu-pandemic (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  14. Annex A: about Exercise Cygnus. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-pandemic-preparedness/annex-a-about-exercise-cygnus (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  15. COVID-19: guidance for stepdown of infection control precautions and discharging patients to home settings. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-stepdown-of-infection-control-precautions-within-hospitals-and-discharging-covid-19-patients-from-hospital-to-home-settings (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  16. BAME Communities Advisory Group report and recommendations. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-care-sector-covid-19-support-taskforce-report-on-first-phase-of-covid-19-pandemic/bame-communities-advisory-group-report-and-recommendations (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  17. Ethnicity and outcomes of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in England. NHS Digital. https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-data-services-updates/ethnicity-and-outcomes-of-covid-19-patients-in-england (accessed 14 Aug 2020).
  18. Ethnicity and COVID-19 from Race Disparity Unit. https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/covid-19 (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  19. Coronavirus and vaccine hesitancy, Great Britain - Office for National Statistics. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandvaccinehesitancygreatbritain/31marchto25april (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  20. HSC Risk Assessment_1.pdf. https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/sites/default/files/2020-07/HSC%20Risk%20Assessment_1.pdf (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  21. Coronavirus » Addressing impact of COVID-19 on BAME staff in the NHS. https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/workforce/addressing-impact-of-covid-19-on-bame-staff-in-the-nhs/ (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  22. Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  23. COBR (COBRA). The Institute for Government. 2020.https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/cobr-cobra (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  24. “Unimaginable” cost of Test & Trace failed to deliver central promise of averting another lockdown - Committees - UK Parliament. https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/127/public-accounts-committee/news/150988/unimaginable-cost-of-test-trace-failed-to-deliver-central-promise-of-averting-another-lockdown/ (accessed 2 Jun 2021).
  25. How does the NHS compare internationally? big election questions. King’s Fund report https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/big-election-questions-nhs-international-comparisons (accessed 11 June 2021).