A group of prestigious Spanish scientists and researchers have called for an independent investigation into the handling of the pandemic in Spain.
The request, which stipulates that this enquiry be made by an international body, was published in the medical journal, The Lancet. The letter to the magazine was signed by 20 Spanish medical experts, amongst whom was Alberto García-Basteiro, Margarita del Val and Carles Muntaner.
But this is not only an independent investigation into the Spanish Central Government, but also the 17 regional ones, too, covering three areas: governance and decision taking, scientific advice, and operational & technical capacity.
Furthermore the enquiry should take into account social & economic circumstances that have contributed to making Spain more vulnerable, especially the growing inequality in the country.
However, the signatories of the letter point out that the idea behind the enquiry is not to assign blame but rather to show where improvements can be made to public health and social assistance.
They consider that Spain needs an exhaustive evaluation of the public-health system so it can prepare itself for the subsequent waves of Covid-19 infections that are to come, as well as any future pandemics.
The letter contains the question how it has been possible that Spain, which has one of the best public-health systems in the world, finds itself with 300,000 cases and 28,498 deaths, as well as over 50,000 health workers infected and almost 20,000 deaths in residences for the elderly.
The answer, they feel, is that there was an absence of preparation for a pandemic, with weak early-warning systems and a low capacity to roll out PCR testing, as well as a scarcity of PPEs and insufficient Critical Care Equipment.
They also consider that the central and regional authorities reacted with slow decision-taking processes. Other factors were a high mobility one within the population, scarce coordination between authorities, an ageing population, social inequality generating vulnerable groups, a lack of preparation in homes for the elderly and… little regard to scientific advice.
They concluded the letter by urging the Government to consider such an independent evaluation as an opportunity that could lead to a better response to future pandemics.