Global Health expert: Politicians must be held accountable for ignoring medical advice

20 June 2020, 11:56

By Seán Hickey

A member of independent SAGE called for senior cabinet members to resign as it becomes clear they've "transparently failed" to follow medical advice.

Professor Anthony Costello, the director of the Institute for Global Health at the University College London, has been outspoken in the last few days in his views of the government. He has been vocal in calling for the resignation of Health Secretary Matt Hancock for his apparent ignoring of scientific advice.

"People have to take accountability." Professor Costello told Matt Frei. "I think previously politicians could defend themselves by saying they were following the science – this is not following the science.

"They seemed to decide that they will ignore SAGE, they will bypass public health and they'll go their own route, and it's transparently failed." The global health expert claimed that the government "have decided to create their own scientific input" through the development of a new advisory group.

Professor Costello told Matt that "we don't know who's going to be advising them, where they're getting their data from" and this poses a problem in the UK's lockdown easing plans, as the public look for guidance from experts.

Professor Costello thought that senior cabinet members should be interrogated for apparently ignoring scientific advice
Professor Costello thought that senior cabinet members should be interrogated for apparently ignoring scientific advice. Picture: PA

Matt wondered if the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Science Adviser to the government still believe what is coming from the cabinet, given that it is alleged that the government have gone their own way.

Professor Costello said that "they must harbour doubts about what the government are doing" but could not confirm their feelings as he hasn't spoken to either of them.

Matt finished off by asking the paediatrician for his thoughts on children returning to school, to which Professor Costello confirmed that he felt measures that have been put in place in the post part have been sufficient.

He insisted that under the circumstances, he would allow children to return to school and added that "the risks to children are very low."

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