Former Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston calls for public inquiry into Government's handling of Covid crisis

  • Full report with former Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston as she calls for a public inquiry into the Government's handling of the pandemic

Former Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston is calling for a public inquiry into the Government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing ministers of misleading the public over testing figures and underplaying the scale of the crisis.

As an ex-GP and chair of Parliament's health and social care select committee, Dr Wollaston says she has been frustrated by what she sees as the Government's failure to keep up with other countries in bringing the virus under control.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the UK has succeeded in protecting the NHS and 'prevented it being overwhelmed which in turn saved lives'.

Read more: New statistics suggest the South West is only region in UK projected to have a rise in Covid-19 cases

Dr Wollaston lost her seat in Parliament at last year's election. Credit: ITV News

Dr Wollaston says the Dominic Cummings affair, which saw the PM's adviser come under pressure after breaching lockdown rules, undermined public trust in the Government.

She is calling for a public inquiry into the crisis immediately to address what' is going wrong in real time.

She said: "It isn't about trying to be wise after the event. It's about genuinely saying what can we learn from countries like South Korea, Germany, New Zealand, Australia that have done so much better than us? And why is it that they have been so successful and here in Britain we have got things so badly wrong?"

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On Monday the Government announced that a further 59 people have died in hospital in England after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 27,490.

The patients were aged between 34 and 100, with three aged between 54 and 68 known to have had underlying health conditions.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Although the past few months have been a time of sorrow for so many people, because one of these deaths is not a statistic but the loss of a loved one for so many families.

"We have made a progress in our fight against this virus. But there is so much more to do.

"We must always remain vigilant, especially when it comes to protecting our NHS, which has been at the front line of the battle.

"And of course thanks to an enormous national effort, we protected the NHS and prevented it being overwhelmed which in turn saved lives."

Dr Wollaston is planning to return to the NHS. Credit: ITV News

Dr Wollaston has answered the call for former healthcare workers to return to the NHS, and will soon be working on the frontline.

She also said she will not rule out returning to politics.