Legal action against Health Secretary and PHE for failures which have led to tragic avoidable Covid-19 deaths
Dr Minesh Navin Talati is seeking to hold Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and the executive agency, Public Health England to account in respect of its failures to comply with their duties under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 that has resulted in tragic avoidable Covid-19 deaths.
Dr Talati is forming an action group to help all those affected by Covid-19 to bring the government to account. His father Mr Navin S. Talati, an NHS pharmacist for over 45 years, passed away on 18 April 2020 due to respiratory failure with Covid-19 viral pneumonia. Dr Minesh Talati is an NHS healthcare provider and had contracted the coronavirus as had his elderly parents and his pregnant wife.
It is alleged that the Secretary of State did not do all that could be reasonably expected of him to avoid a real and immediate risk to life from Covid-19, despite the knowledge that the government had at the time.
Furthermore, it is alleged that despite that the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling committee (SPI-M) that reports directly to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), stating on 10 February 2020 that "It is a realistic probability that there is already sustained transmission in the UK”, Public Health England misled the care sector on 25 February 2020 when it stated that “the current position in the UK” was that “there is currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community”.
A pre-action letter of claim has been served on the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Rt Hon Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and on Mr Duncan Selbie, the Chief Executive of Public Health England pursuant to the Practice Direction - Pre-action Conduct and Protocols.
Dr Talati respectfully requests the Court to require the Secretary of State to ensure that he complies with his duties under Article 2 especially in respect of preventing a second wave of Covid-19. Given the lives at risk and that Parliament is unable to hold the Government to account at this time, Dr Talati is urgently seeking the intervention of the Courts. Scientists including Prof Devi Sridhar are asking the government and Public Health England to take heed of their scientific advice urging caution when lifting the lockdown.
"It is my intention by bringing this legal action that the Government is held to account and that it never repeats its neglectful acts and omissions in respect of its obligations to protect the public and save lives" said Dr Talati upon the pre-action letters being served.
The Prime Minister has said “We are learning lessons every day, but I do think broadly speaking, we did the right thing at the right time.”
The Secretary of State and Public Health England have until 4 pm on 12 June 2020 in which to provide a substantive response.
Sunil Abeyewickreme, Partner at Gunnercooke LLP is leading the team that represents Dr Talati in pursuit of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Public Health England.
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