Blog: Your experiences are vital to the COVID Inquiry

Hearings set for a circus of ‘axe-grinding and score-settling’ that drowns out the suffering

COVID Wall with Christina McAnea in front

It’s been grim watching so far, but today will get much grimmer as the Cummings circus arrives at the UK COVID-19 Inquiry.

We’re expecting more explosive talk, axe-grinding and score-settling. A lot of noise that risks drowning out the most important parts of the inquiry – the experiences of those who suffered.

In the UK, millions fell sick with COVID, and over 230,000 died with it, leaving millions more grieving relatives and friends. We all lost days without our loved ones beside us, when lockdowns separated us.

And the people who went to work every day to look after COVID patients, to protect others from catching it, to keep hospitals, care homes, councils, prisons, transport, and schools running, risked their own lives to protect others.

Recounting and recalling the hundreds of days of the pandemic is difficult. But without your experiences, the government and civil service won’t learn from the mistakes of the past.

Ever since the start of the pandemic, I’ve heard heart-breaking stories from our members. Care workers were calling us, desperate for PPE and terrified to go to work.

Healthcare assistants told me they worked well beyond what was expected of them to help mortuary staff, and an exhausted and overwhelmed public service workforce has been left deeply betrayed by the people in Number 10 who flouted the rules.

UNISON’s COVID Inquiry team remains focused on amplifying your voices throughout the inquiry. And our head of health, Sara Gorton, is preparing a written statement on behalf of UNISON, and will be our expert witness when the inquiry takes oral statements.

We’re putting this effort into the inquiry, because UNISON’s collective experience is the most valuable insight into how the pandemic ravaged through the UK.

But we need your help too. Please take the time to share your experience – you can do this directly, through the UK’s COVID-19 Inquiry website here.