Coronavirus: Government faces questions over transparency – BBC Newsnight

published on July 20, 2020

transparency is a fundamental aspect of science allowing others to challenge and build on evidence and interpretation those are the words of England's chief medical officer and scientific advisor just over a week ago while we now know

Who was on Sage we still don't know what their scientific advice was to government yet evidence underpinning key government decisions is not all in the public domain while we now know who was on Sage we

Still don't know what their scientific advice was to government it is not acceptable to not provide evidence of decision-making from public bodies that effect a huge wave of society there are decisions that will be made in this

Outbreak that are questionable there will be decisions that are wrong but you have to live and die by them but the most important aspect is you need to put them out there so we can understand why they were made and if they were

Wrong we can think about changing them not everyone agrees professor Robert Dingwall is a member of one of the groups that feeds into stage it's called nerve tag and it does publish its discussions we also have a strong

Tradition in the UK that the advice of civil servants to ministers is kept confidential so that there can be a full and frank exchange between advisors and politicians and I think some of the same considerations might apply to Sage

Itself the issue of transparency goes much further than the makeup and the advice of these increasingly high-profile scientific groups Newsnight has learned that some local authority directors of Public Health are unhappy

With what they perceive to be NHS England's failure to provide data about the extent of the outbreak in their local areas we've seen a letter written a month ago as the number of infections were peaking from Jim McManus vice

President of the association of directors of Public Health – Simon Stephens chief executive of NHS England in it he says I'm writing to you at the request of the directors of Public Health to formally record our

Serious concern at the lack of communication of modeling data from national and regional level from NHS England to help local areas manage the current epidemic and the planned future impact of this epidemic he adds in our

View the inconsistency in sharing of data now creates a serious risk to patient safety and lives to which I am now requested to draw your attention in the letter he says local officials need the full details and the models to know

Likely demand for social care beds hospital capacity in ICU beds he also stresses the importance of estimates for excess deaths so councils can ensure people are properly buried or cremated the committee is now in session

Concerns about transparency have reached Parliament – the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee has asked public health England to make the evidence about why they rejected the South Korean approach to testing public

Scientists and officials and government ministers are not going to get everything right today they're working in a fog of uncertainty and so in making decisions it's important to review whether they've turned out in the way

That was intended and if they haven't to take corrective action for the future and that's true of scientists it's true of officials and it's true of Ministers the peak may now have passed but the need for transparency has not according

To one public health director who says clear data remain vital the things are going to make a real difference are being able to do everything we can to manage the epidemic in our local areas and that means both having that

Real-time surveillance data whether that's coming from the testing systems or it's coming from other sources like NHS one-one-one or primary care who are seeing maybe where hot spots are emerging while kovat 19 is posing

Unprecedented challenges we did have another pandemic ten years ago the outbreak in the UK of h1n1 swine flu Deirdre Hein led the review into the UK's handling of that pandemic she looked at the issue of transparency but

Fears not all lessons have been learned I think there is a tendency on the part of government to want to control everything rather than accepting that there is intelligence locally that might make it easier for them to contribute

England's chief medical officer and scientific adviser say they intend to publish sage scientific advice with discussions about how to handle the next phase of the pandemic onda guey there's still a chance to learn from the past

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