December 4, 2022

Deputy first minister John Swinney met with family members who have lost loved ones to Covid to explain what was happening with the inquiry.
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The Scottish Government's treatment of families who have lost loved ones to Covid has been branded "scandalous" as the Covid Inquiry was called a "sinking ship."
They met with deputy first minister John Swinney on Wednesday to discuss the public inquiry which has descended into chaos following the resignation of the chair Lady Poole and four legal advisers.
But they revealed that they thought they had been treated poorly by the original panel as they were never updated on what was happening, despite there being 66 officials working on the probe.
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Dr Alan Whiteman, who lost his mum in May 2020 after she contracted Covid while a resident of a care home, spoke following the meeting.
He said: "I want accountability, I want lessons to be learned and I want a list of recommendations to be provided and implemented.
"I want a commitment from all political parties that, regardless of the political completion of any future Scottish Government, that the majority of those recommendations will be fully implemented with minimal delay.
"We were never front and centre of the Inquiry process once Lady Poole took charge, with not even a courtesy email to alert us once a news item was published on the Inquiry process."
The Scottish Tories described this treatment of the families as "scandalous" as they urged the SNP-led government to urgently make sure there is progress with appointing a new chair.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: “This is a damning verdict on the complete lack of progress the inquiry has made from those who have lost loved ones to Covid.
“They are desperate for answers and it is completely unacceptable that over 60 staff working on the inquiry could not update these families on how it is progressing. It is simply scandalous that they feel that they have never been put front and centre of this inquiry.
“Whoever is the new chair of the inquiry – and we need an appointment fast – must guarantee the families will be at the heart of hearings going forward. They want and deserve answers as to what went wrong.
“It is simply not good enough for John Swinney to say he hopes there will be progress in the next fortnight. Families are fast losing faith and need to see leadership from those at the heart of the SNP Government if the inquiry is to have any credibility.”
The government were accused of keeping Scots in the dark about the progress of the inquiry after they waited a number of days until announcing Lady Poole had left. They also did not tell parliament that four counsels had quit as well.
Top lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is representing a group of families impacted by Covid deaths, previously described the process as a "sinking ship."
Speaking on Wednesday, he added: "The families told him {Mr Swinney} in no uncertain terms that the Scottish inquiry has stalled and has so far betrayed the promises to keep them front and centre.
"The families will not be party to a box-ticking exercise and expect for a judge with a reputation for fairness, robustness, independence and compassion to be selected to deliver the truth and accountability.
"Up until now the family have felt they have been on a sinking ship. Mr Swinney advised the families today for the first time that there are 66 staff on the Scottish public inquiry – yet the families have no idea of their progress to date."
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "The Scottish Government is keen to help ensure the progress the inquiry is making continues.
"I gave assurances to the group today that work to appoint a new chair is being progressed at pace and that discussions with the Lord President about arrangements for appointing a new judicial Chair are underway. I will provide a further update to Parliament at the earliest possible opportunity."
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