Amnesty: UK has recorded second highest number of COVID-19 health worker deaths in the world

The UK has recorded the second highest number of COVID-19 health worker deaths in the world, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

More than 540 health and social worker deaths in England and Wales, from 3,000 global fatalities, second only to Russia with 545.

Amnesty International UK’s Director Kate Allen said: “It is tragic that we’ve seen so many of our dedicated health and social care workers in England and Wales die from COVID-19. We have to understand whether these deaths were avoidable, and what led to this terrible outcome.

“There appears to have been a catastrophic failure to provide proper PPE and a failure to grapple with the alarmingly high death rates among BAME health workers. This crisis is far from over and an independent inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is urgently needed. We must learn lessons from this current crisis if we want to prevent future unnecessary deaths.”

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “Health and social care workers have been on the front line throughout the covid-19 crisis, putting their lives at risk as government failed to provide adequate PPE, pay and testing. It’s no wonder so many have died.

“And when our members have raised issues and asked for the proper protection – they’ve been bullied by line managers and faced threats of disciplinary action.

“We have reports of GMB members in hospitals and care homes who in desperation bought their own PPE but were told by managers that if they wore it they would face action as it scared the visitors and residents. The government has utterly failed our health and social care workers. It’s no wonder so many have died.”

union-news.co.uk has consistently reported on shortages of PPE. We reported the deaths of two health workers from COVID-10, how a hospital worker was threatened with disciplinary action after asking for PPE, the need for PPE for health workers, a campaign for more PPE,  a petition calling for more PPE, dietitians “crying out” for PPE, and many more.

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