THE chair of the Scottish covid-19 inquiry has pledged “not to shy away” from making findings about wrong decisions made during the pandemic.

Lady Poole pledged to carry out a “fair, open and thorough” investigation as the inquiry launched publicly with a new website setting out its aims and remit.

The devolved response to the pandemic will be scrutinised in order to learn lessons for the future.

However, the inquiry is not yet at a stage where it is inviting submissions from members of the public.

Lady Poole was appointed in December 2021, after Nicola Sturgeon confirmed in August that an independent judge-led inquiry would take place.

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Its terms of reference set out 12 specific areas it will investigate, including health, education and the decision to impose lockdowns.

One of these areas relates to care and nursing homes, including the transfer of residents and infection control measures.

In a video on the inquiry website, Lady Poole said she would carry out a “fair, open and thorough investigation”.

The National: Inquiry chair Lady PooleInquiry chair Lady Poole

She said: “In Scotland, all of us have been affected by the pandemic and the measures taken to handle it.

“The suffering and hardship experienced by many is unprecedented. Covid-19 has left loss, heartbreak and tragedy in its wake.

“I want to take this opportunity to express my condolences to all those who have suffered, particularly to those who lost people they love.”

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She continued: “People have legitimate questions about the handling of the pandemic in Scotland.

“This inquiry has been set up to provide answers.

“My role as chair of the Scottish Covid-19 inquiry is to investigate aspects of the devolved response to the pandemic in Scotland, and report about lessons learned.

“The inquiry will not shy away from making findings where wrong decisions were made or where the response was inadequate or fell short.”

Adverse impacts on human rights would be considered by the inquiry, the judge said.

Lady Poole said her inquiry would cover “Scottish matters”, while another inquiry would examine the UK-wide response.

She said her team is liaising with the UK inquiry to ensure there is not duplication of their work.

The Scottish inquiry will take place in three phases: establishment, investigation and reporting.

Reports will be provided to Scottish ministers “as quickly as possible”, Lady Poole said.

One of the elements involving the public will be a “listening project”, giving people opportunities to tell the inquiry their experiences, as well as inviting written submissions.