'My dad went to work using gloves and a scarf as PPE': Bereaved son responds to Hancock

10 June 2021, 18:20

By Fiona Jones

Lobby Akinnola, who lost his father to Covid, says he struggles to believe Matt Hancock's claim that there is "no evidence" a national shortage of PPE was linked to Covid deaths.

The Health Secretary has come under fire from medical professionals over this statement, which he made before two select committees on Thursday.

“With respect to the provision of PPE to the health and social care sector, that is my responsibility as Secretary of State. But the other thing I’d say is we’ve looked into this and there is no evidence that I have seen that a shortage of PPE provision led to anybody dying of Covid,” he told MPs.

Mr Akinnola lost his dad in April 2020 to Covid, telling Shelagh: "I personally find it quite difficult for the Health Secretary to say that no deaths resulted from a lack of PPE.

"My dad worked for a charity Mencap looking after people with learning difficulties, so vulnerable people, and he was going to work using his gloves and scarf as PPE. He was aware of the fact it's a virus and it's probably going to be transmitted through contact.

His dad was starting to use his clothes as PPE as early as the start of March as "he was trying to be as careful as possible."

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Regarding Matt Hancock's claim there is no link between Covid deaths and lack of PPE, Mr Akinnola said he could "handily point to his dad" as he believes "he would have been much less likely to have caught it" had his parents been able to have PPE.

His mother, a pharmacist, also caught it and did not have PPE either.

He cited the Government purchasing £150 million worth of masks which were unusable, continuing: "That right there indicates actually their actions did result in the losing of life."

Shelagh observed that the Government highlighting the things they did rather than the things they did not do was a way of "dodging" interrogation, asking, "When you watch this do you think inquiry now, this isn't good enough? This is an inadequate form of investigation?"

Read more: Matt Hancock tells MPs: 'I have no idea why Cummings has a problem with me'

"I do think there has to be an inquiry now," Mr Akinnola said, "it was a select committee to learn lessons and [Matt Hancock] seems to be concerned about the reputation of the Government."

"People are living with the consequences and will be living with it forever. My life has changed markedly forever. That's something we have to deal with," he said, "it's difficult at times to watch things like the testimonies being today and when Dominic Cummings gave them because it really does feel like...[they're] looking out for themselves.

"I feel personally like there's a lot of effort being given on saying we did our very best, we did so well, less effort of being concerned about the wellbeing of those who are going through this.

"My family is doing as best as we can I think."