UK’s largest older people’s campaign group calls for Public Inquiry into ‘staggering’ 100k Covid-19 deaths
‘We must know why the UK is leading the world, not in how many vaccines
we are delivering, but in the tragic number of lives lost to Covid-19.’
Statement by Jan Shortt, General Secretary,
National Pensioners’ Convention.
As the UK passes the tragic milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 related deaths the NPC is demanding that the government urgently convene a Public Inquiry.
The public has the right to know why this country has one of the highest Covid fatality rates in the world, with only four nations - US (421,129), Brazil (217,664), India (153,587) and Mexico (150,273) - suffering greater losses of life.
Of those who died here, a staggering 23,081 - a quarter of the total — were residents in care homes (ONS: 10 April 2020 to 22 January 2021). Frighteningly, the rate of care home deaths is rising again with 1,705 notified in the week up to 22 January.
These are not statistics—these are people. They are Mums, Dads, Grandpas and Grandmas, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues, who have all lost their lives in our ‘so-called’ modern Western democracy.
We must know why the UK is leading the world, not in how many vaccines we are delivering, but in the tragic number of lives lost to Covid. The NPC will be writing to the Prime Minister and to all MPs to demand answers through a Public Inquiry.
As the generation who has suffered most through this pandemic, we will also be renewing our call for a spokesperson—an independent Commissioner for Older People for England—to join with the other commissioners of the UK nations, to have our voices heard, now and in the future, on policy and practice affecting older people.
Most of the UK Covid-19 deaths – particularly in care homes - could have been avoided had the government acted more quickly on the scientific and medical advice they were given—we must find out why they did not.
The Prime Minister’s promise of an “invisible shield" to protect the elderly and vulnerable during the current Covid lockdown has already failed. The NPC wants a full and public investigation into the actions of the government - and some of those they chose to work with - in their disastrous pandemic response.
Even now, as the pandemic - and the number of Covid-related deaths – continue to rise, we ask that they urgently reassess some of their strategy, particularly around their latest decision to delay the second vaccine jab from 21 days to 12 weeks, which goes against the manufacturers’ advice.
NPC Policy Statement on the Rights of Older People,
their Health and Wellbeing, January 2021
‘Older people are individual citizens who deserve to be valued for their contribution to society. We deserve to be listened to, believed, respected and treated with dignity regardless of our characteristics on all issues related to access to, and provision of, services that enable a better quality of life, health and well-being.’
NPC WEBINAR: The dangers of ‘digital poverty’ will be discussed at the NPC Connections for All webinar on Dignity Action Day 2021. The online summit next Monday, 1st February at 11am, brings together an expert panel, including Helena Herklots, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, to consider how we can keep millions of the UK’s oldest citizens connected. Not only will the speakers examine how to help more to get online, they will also look at how to keep those who cannot, or do not want to get online, stay connected with family, friends and services as more businesses adopt a ‘digital first’ agenda.
Download the press release