During the peak of the Covid pandemic, two junior doctors launched a landmark case calling for a judicial review of the Government’s actions for failure to provide them with appropriate PPE at work. They were concerned about the frequently changing PPE guidelines and issues with PPE shortages on a national level. The judicial review was therefore an attempt to hold the Government accountable and ensure that healthcare workers were properly protected against Covid, especially when undertaking aerosol-general procedures.
Importantly, BAPIO was named as an interested party to the action and, as the largest organisation in the UK representing BAME healthcare workers, it was especially concerned about how BAME healthcare workers were being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
MDS ADVICE & OUTCOME
MDS was instructed to represent BAPIO as an interested party and helped to draw up grounds of support. A witness statement with detailed addendums was drafted on behalf of the President of BAPIO to help demonstrate how existing PPE guidelines were putting healthcare workers at risk and offering constructive solutions to the Government, and this was filed in the High Court in support of the action.
The case was subsequently resolved and has helped to establish the obligations of the Government and its official bodies in the protection of healthcare workers both during the latter stages of the Covid pandemic and in relation to any future pandemics.
To settle the action, the Government made some significant concessions to, among other things, rescind the ‘Acute Shortages’ Guidance, and form a committee to safeguard BAME healthcare workers.
This case demonstrates the impact that collective action can have and as the two junior doctors highlighted in their joint statement following the resolution of the action, it shows that healthcare workers have a voice.