Grieving son calls for public inquiry into Government's 'terrible' handling of Covid

26 January 2021, 18:35

By Fiona Jones

Jamie Brown's dad died of Covid within five minutes of getting to hospital - he explains to Eddie Mair why he is calling for a public inquiry into the Government's "terrible" handling of the pandemic.

Jamie has been fighting for a public inquiry since June, being a prominent campaigner in the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group - however this plea has become even more urgent as the UK Covid death toll surpasses 100,000.

Jamie Brown lost his dad, Tony Brown, at 65 years old to Covid-19 on 29 March 2020. He was planning to retire a month later.

Jamie remarked that his dad was still travelling into London one day a week from Colchester, and the last time he did this was on March 12: "Still a week or so before we had our first lockdown but by all accounts about 12 days after Boris Johnson had all the information he needed and advice to call for our first lockdown - and decided not to."

Tony was ill for ten days, starting off with a cough and a fever in bed, and when he called 111 was told to take paracetamol as there was no testing available back in March.

"As far as we were aware from the news, if you had Covid it was a mild illness anyway," Jamie said, "111 said to call back if it got worse, but didn't tell him what worse would look like. No one did.

"On 28 March he started getting a tight chest, a little bit breathless, he decided that if he didn't get better in the morning he'd call for an ambulance so they waited."

The 111 line decided he "wasn't an emergency" but sent an ambulance a few hours later anyway, which he got into unassisted.

He got to Colchester General Hospital and "died within five minutes of arriving," Jamie said.

He added: "Bear in mind the Government has refused a public inquiry so far.

"But they've also refused to meet with bereaved families to give us a chance to share our stories about some commonalities that we've seen about simple practices really that could...be changed very quickly before we got to winter so we didn't reach this horrifyingly predictable death toll."

Speaking of the Government's handling of the Covid crisis more broadly, he added: "I'd say they're doing a terrible job and that's why so many people are dead."