Covid-19: Region reacts to damning report which shows serious errors cost lives

The widow of a paramedic who died from Coronavirus says he - and thousands of others - were let down by the government.

Charlie Goodwin caught the virus while ferrying patients from hospitals to care homes. His wife Julie says he was left fatally exposed as infection rates soared in the early stages of the pandemic.

She said:" When I had Charlie at home with me for three days and the ambulance crew came to fetch him, all they had on was a little plastic apron, one had a mask you buy in the shop and a pair of gloves."

Charlie Goodwin

Today's damning report by two Parliamentary Select Committees says serious errors and delays in tackling the outbreak led to too many unnecessary deaths.

The report also says many thousands of elderly people died needlessly, finding hospitals discharged patients into care homes without testing them for the virus because officials were focussed on protecting the NHS. 

A care home in Featherstone could not accept admissions because it was already full. It also introduced full-scale protective measures early on - and its owner is proud that not one single resident has died there from Covid.

Vicarage Court care home where protective measure were introduced at the start of the pandemic

Woodleigh Manor in Hessle has so far managed to avoid outbreaks of the virus - but its manager says the industry needs reform - echoing a joint committee's calls for more funding.

Donna Jenkinson Manager, Woodleigh Manor, said: "We're always second to the NHS yet we're providing that intense care for people and yet it's almost like we're just disregarded as a profession."

The government and its scientific advisers are coming under pressure for their poor handling of the crisis at the start of the pandemic. Credit: PA

The study, from the cross-party Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee, said the UK’s preparation for a pandemic was far too focused on a flu model, while ministers waited too long to push through lockdown measures in early 2020.

The report highlighted several issues and incompetencies in the way the government, along with its scientific advisers, took several wrong approaches managing the pandemic.

The MPs said the “decisions on lockdowns and social distancing during the early weeks of the pandemic – and the advice that led to them – rank as one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced”.

One hospital consultant agrees with the report that delays in the first lockdown was a crucial mistake.

The MPs did, however, also offer praise in two areas - treatments and vaccines – saying ministers were “correct to identify that a vaccine would be the long-term route out of the pandemic” and supported research and development.

The government say it has taken decisive action to save lives, and is committed to learning lessons from the pandemic with a full public inquiry.