News

Putting people at the centre of an independent inquiry into COVID-19

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 18th October 2021
People at the centre image

This ALLIANCE briefing outlines key recommendations on the content and format of an independent inquiry into COVID-19.

Based on people’s first-hand experiences of health and social care in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ALLIANCE has prepared a briefing recommending key issues to be included in the remit of the inquiry, and how it should be done to ensure that people are at the centre and everyone’s voices are heard.

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the Scottish health and social care sector.  A range of issues within the Scottish Government, local and Integration Authorities, and the third and independent sectors, have been highlighted and exacerbated.

In February 2021, the ALLIANCE signed a joint civil society letter to the First Minister calling for a public inquiry into Scotland’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (this link will take you away from our website). In our manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament Elections, we asked the next Scottish Government to commission an independent, person centred inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health and social care in Scotland. This is necessary to safeguard the rights and interests of disabled people, people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers who rely on these services.

The Scottish Government has announced that work is underway to establish a COVID-19 independent inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland (this link will take you away from our website). The ALLIANCE has submitted this briefing to the Scottish Government to inform its terms of reference.

This briefing is informed by consultation with our members during an ALLIANCE engagement session, held on 16 September 2021. People shared their views on what should be included in an independent inquiry, and on how it should be done to ensure people’s voices are heard. Attendees included third sector health and social care organisations, disabled people, people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers.

What issues in health and social care should the independent inquiry seek to explore?

Health and social care is a broad remit for an independent inquiry. Our briefing therefore outlines the key issues raised by our members. These include:

  • Communication
  • Digital exclusion
  • Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation forms (DNACPRs)
  • Emergency planning
  • Funding
  • Long Covid
  • Long term conditions
  • Palliative care
  • Participation processes
  • Sensory loss
  • Social care
  • Shielding
  • Value of the third sector

How should it be done to ensure people are at the centre and everyone’s voice are heard?

Members felt that the following are particularly important considerations in conducting the inquiry:

  • A human rights based approach
  • Who will lead the inquiry
  • Meaningful engagement
  • Prioritising lived experience
  • Output from the inquiry in multiple inclusive and accessible formats
  • Equal access to engagement
  • Confidentiality
  • Independent advocacy and support services
  • Timescales and processes

You can read the full briefing via the link below.

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