Anna Morris KC questions Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry
12 December 2023
Anna Morris KC questioned the Prime Minister, and former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak at the Covid-19 Inquiry about financial support for care home workers to limit their work to a single location, given that the movement of care home agency workers had been identified, in June 2020, as a primary contributor to transmission of Covid.
Anna reminded the Inquiry that in September 2020 regulations to prohibit care home workers from moving between multiple locations were proposed and went out for consultation. These were finalised by December 2020 but required Treasury approval for funding the compensation package for workers. Anna then referred to a statement from former Health Secretary Matt Hancock in which he states that it ‘became clear that [the Treasury] was reticent to fund a scheme to support staff affected by the proposed regulation’ and that the implementation of the plan was delayed again. In January 2021 Treasury ministers decided not to fund the compensation scheme saying it was the wrong mechanism, but they were open to ways to increase staff supply. The measures were therefore not brought forward due to a lack of compensation and shortages of care home staff at the time.
Anna asked Mr Sunak what involvement he had in this process and why there was no mechanism to confine care home agency workers to a single location before January 2021 – given staff movement continued to be a primary contributor to care home infections and judged by the Department of Health as a key infection prevention and control concern at a time of increased incidents.
You can watch Anna’s questions to Mr Sunak below and read the transcript from page 163.
Anna and Pete Weatherby KC lead the team representing the Covid Bereaved Families for Justice UK group in Module 2 of the Inquiry, which includes GCN’s Christian Weaver, Kate Stone, Ciara Bartlam, Mira Hammad, Lily Lewis and Hamish McCallum. Also on the team are Garden Court Chambers tenants Allison Munroe KC (Modules 1 and 3) and Thalia Maragh, Jesse Nicholls from Matrix Chambers, Oliver Lewis from Doughty Street Chambers and Tom Jones from Deka Chambers. The team is instructed by Elkan Abrahamson, Nicola Brook, and Emma Beckett from Broudie Jackson Canter.