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COURIER OPINION: Public must have confidence in Scottish Covid inquiry

Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Covid inquiry will consider the policy of moving untested patients from hospitals to care homes. Photo: Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA Wire.
Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Covid inquiry will consider the policy of moving untested patients from hospitals to care homes. Photo: Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail/PA Wire.

The Scottish Covid inquiry looks set to be one of the most significant pieces of work in all our lifetimes.

It promises to examine all aspects of the handling of the virus north of the border.

And it will interrogate the decisions which, literally, meant the difference between life and death for thousands of Scots.

That includes the policy of discharging untested people into care homes, where the virus exacted a heartbreaking toll in the early days of the pandemic.

Judges in England have found a similar move by the UK Government was unlawful and Nicola Sturgeon was pressed on the issue at Holyrood yesterday.

The judge-led inquiry had been expected to begin before the end of last year.

And so, understandably there are concerns among lawyers representing the families of some of those who died that it is not yet under way.

But it is essential that Lady Poole’s inquiry is conducted in as thorough, even-handed and open a manner as possible.

And for that to happen, all the necessary groundwork – including hiring sufficient, suitably qualified staff and holding preliminary meetings with interested parties – has to be in place.

Scottish Covid inquiry is our chance to learn

The Covid pandemic touched all of our lives.

Its effects are still being felt in communities the length and breadth of Scotland.

And the full impact may not be understood for many years to come.

Lady Poole’s inquiry is our opportunity to scrutinise the rights and wrongs and to learn lessons for the future.

It must be above reproach if the Scottish people are to have confidence in its findings. And it is vital that no corners are cut in the pursuit of truth.

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