MATT Hancock has been grilled by the son of a dead NHS worker over the failure to provide enough protective kit.
The Health Secretary refused to apologise or admit that mistakes had been made despite the deaths of staff in health and social care settings.
Intisar Chowdhury, the son of NHS doctor Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, who died earlier this month after issuing a public plea for more PPE, said Mr Hancock needed to admit his mistakes.
Intisar told Nick Ferrari on LBC: “He wrote a request for more PPE to the Prime Minister… that was ignored, two weeks later he passed away, do you regret not taking my dads concerns, my 11-year-old sister’s dad’s concerns… seriously?”
82 NHS staff and 16 social care workers have already died from coronavirus.
Mr Hancock expressed his condolences to Intisar, but would not admit mistakes had been made.
He said: “I’m really sorry about your dad’s death and I’ve seen the comments you’ve made and I think it’s very brave of you to be speaking out in public.
“We took very, very seriously what your father said and we’ve been working around the clock to ensure there’s enough protective equipment.”
Mr Hancock said they looked into each and every case of NHS and social care workers who had died to understand why it had happened and what needed to be improved.
The health and social care services have been grappling with problems obtaining enough PPE since the start of the crisis.
Despite the Government saying over 1 billion pieces of PPE have been delivered, there have been continual problems ensuring it gets to the hospitals that need it most.
According to the Royal College of Physicians, one in four doctors are still having to reuse single-use PPE.
When pressed on whether mistakes were made, Mr Hancock said policies had been “changed” as the Government learnt more about the virus.
He said: “There are things that we’ve changed as we’ve gone through… because we’ve learned more things about the virus and because things didn’t work out as expected.”
But Intisar was unimpressed with Mr Hancock’s answered and pushed him for an apology.
He told Mr Hancock: “The public is not expecting the Government to handle this perfectly, we’re not expecting perfection, we’re expecting progression, we’re expecting you to admit that mistakes were made, especially to me and people who have really lost loved ones to the virus.
“Openly acknowledging your mistake is not an admission of guilt, it makes you seem more human. So can you please just do that for me today?”
Mr Hancock ignored Intisar’s pleas for an apology, telling him: “I think that it is very important that we are constantly learning how to do these things better, listening to the voices on the frontline is a very very important part of how we improve.”