Accusation comes after new figures reveal nearly a quarter of people who have died with Covid-19 in Wales were infected in hospital

The Labour Government are “ducking scrutiny” by refusing to launch an independent Welsh Covid inquiry, Plaid Cymru have said.

Plaid Cymru Deputy Senedd Leader and Health Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said the Labour Government should be ready to be judged on its actions, “good and bad”.

Mr ap Iorwerth said that new research by Welsh language news programme Newyddion S4C showing that a quarter of Welsh Covid deaths resulted from infections contracted in hospital was reason enough to merit a Welsh-specific inquiry.

Mr ap Iorwerth revealed fresh demands from doctors, allied heath professionals and others calling on Welsh Government to immediately set up a Welsh-specific Covid investigation, to properly scrutinise decisions taken so lessons can to be learnt “right now”. Two days ago the Royal College of Nursing joined with the GMB Union and others to call on the Scottish Government to launch a separate Scottish inquiry.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously announced that a full public inquiry into his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic will begin in spring 2022. Mr ap Iorwerth said that Sir Robert Owen, the judge who chaired the public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko had recently written about the needs to begin immediately, saying that a long-delayed report ‘ceases to form a useful function”.

Plaid Cymru Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“For over a year Plaid Cymru asked for a Wales-only public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic. The Labour Government has instead opted to have a Welsh chapter in a UK-wide inquiry.

“That opens them up to a charge of ducking scrutiny. If they take responsibility, they have to be ready to be judged on their actions, good and bad. And by refusing a Welsh-specific inquiry, Welsh Government is effectively agreeing to Boris Johnson’s delays.

“A quarter of Covid deaths resulted from infections that were contracted in hospital something highlighted in new research being reported today. Surely that alone merits a Welsh specific inquiry.

“And it isn’t just Plaid Cymru calling for a Welsh specific inquiry. Welsh doctors and allied health professionals are also calling for one. The Labour Government has rightly said that they follow the science when making decisions, so why won’t they now follow the advice of these doctors and launch an independent Welsh inquiry now whilst memories are still fresh?

“Lessons need to be learnt now with no stone unturned. The people of Wales – especially those directly affected by the tragic consequences of the pandemic – will expect nothing less.”