Son of doctor who died of coronavirus calls Matt Hancock to ask about lack of PPE
28 April 2020, 08:39 | Updated: 28 April 2020, 09:53
Matt Hancock has refused to apologise to the son of a doctor who died from coronavirus over the lack of protective equipment for NHS workers.
Intisar is the son of Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, who died from Covid-19 shortly after writing to the Prime Minister to tell him about the lack of PPE in his hospital.
The caller asked whether he wishes he had paid more attention to the letter and prioritised getting more protective kit to NHS workers.
He said: "You might know my father, Dr Chowdhury. When he was unwell, he wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, appealing for more PPE for NHS frontline workers. It was a request which was ignored and he passed away.
"Since then, over 100 NHS and social care workers have passed away after contracting the virus. Do you regret not taking my Dad's concerns seriously enough? My dad that we've all lost."
Mr Hancock responded: "I'm really sorry about your dad's death. I've seen the comments that you've made and the comments you've made in public. I think it's very brave of you to be speaking out in public.
"We took very seriously what your father said and we've been working round the clock to ensure there is enough protective equipment.
"In the case of anybody who works in the NHS or in social care and has died from coronavirus, we look into it in each case to find out where they might have caught it and what lessons we might learn. Absolutely it’s very important these lessons are learnt. What I can assure you is we took very seriously your father’s concerns that he raised.”
Pressing again for an apology, Mr Chowdhury said: "The public is not expecting the government to handle this perfectly - none of us are expecting perfection, we're expecting progression.
"We just want you to openly acknowledge that there have been mistakes in handling the virus, especially to me and to so many families that have really lost loved ones as a result of this virus and probably as a result of the Government not handling it seriously enough.
"Openly acknowledging your mistake is not an admission of guilt, it is genuinely just making you seem more human."
Mr Hancock replied: "I think that it is very important that we're constantly learning about how to do these things better and I think listening to the voices on the front line is a very, very important part of how we improve."
Nick Ferrari then asked the Health Secretary: "Will you accept mistakes were made on the provision of kit?"
Mr Hancock insisted: "A huge amount of people are doing everything they can, and have been doing since the start of the crisis.
"I don't want to play down their enormous efforts."