The Scottish Covid Inquiry is finally to launch this month after being announced last year. 

The Inquiry will examine the issues, impact and aftermath of the pandemic, and how it affected the lives of Scots. 

Expected to take many months, it will hear from members of the public and experts with a view to providing answers to what happened and why, and to better prepare the Scottish Government for future pandemics.  

What can we expect?  

The inquiry will start with a “scene-setting” presentation on the epidemiology of COVID-19 by Dr Ashley Croft, Consultant Public Health Physician and Medical Epidemiologist. 

Dr Croft will present his report on the accepted scientific and medical understanding of coronavirus and COVID-19 as it existed in late 2019 and developed during the pandemic, up until the end of 2022 

This has proven controversial after The Herald revealed Dr Croft had previously written about a link between vaccines and autism, a theory widely-debunked in recent years.  

The Herald:

What is the Inquiry’s remit?  

Expected to take many months, the independent Inquiry has ben set up to  “establish the facts, identify the lessons that need to be learned and make recommendations to Scottish Ministers” so the Scottish Government is better prepared in future. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf pledges all documents will be handed to Covid inquiries

The Inquiry has promised that people who have suffered because of COVID-19 and their experiences during the pandemic will “be at the heart” of it's work - ”guiding its investigations and informing its reports” 

How will it be structured?  

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

Reports will be provided to Scottish ministers “as quickly as possible”.  

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. 

What will it look at?

In total – 12 areas have been identified for the Inquiry to focus on. These are: 

Pandemic planning and exercises carried out by the Scottish Government; the decisions that lead to lockdown, the testing, outbreak management and self-isolation, and the vaccination strategy 

Also being examined will be the supply, distribution and use of personal protective equipment, the requirement for shielding and support programmes for those who had to do so, the provision of healthcare services and social care support, end-of-life care, welfare programmes and financial assistance.  

The inquiry will also look at the controversial decisions around care homes, including the transfer of residents from hospitals and the restrictions on visiting faced by relatives.  

Financial support and guidance given to businesses and the self-employed, including  keyworkers,will also be examined.  

The Herald:

Haven't Ministers already given evidence to the inquiry?  

That was the UK Inquiry, which is running in tandem with the Scottish one.  

Both Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have given evidence to that inquiry, which has already been holding evidence sessions for several months.  

READ MORE: Scottish Covid Inquiry expert linked vaccines with Autism

Lord Brailsford, chairman of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry, and Baroness Heather Hallett, chairwoman of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, published an agreement which sets out how they will work together. 

The memorandum of understanding mentions how each inquiry will carry out its investigations in Scotland, minimise duplication of work through information sharing, and maximise value for money.