Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Establish a peoples scientific and medical panel

I call upon the Government to establish a peoples scientific and medical panel to scrutinise the scientific and medical advice that is given to the Government. This panel will contain bona fide, qualified medical and scientific professionals and will be selected by the people.

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I am concerned by conflicting messages regarding the current pandemic. Through everyday conversation and viewing various social media platforms, I can see that I am not alone in my concerns.

People feel they are not hearing the full spectrum of information available. We feel let down by the media who provide information which can be confusing or contradictory.

The debate and discussion must be opened up. There are many questions that need to be asked and answered.

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100,000

Government responded

This response was given on 27 October 2020

Scientific advice is one of the sources of advice the Government considers to prevent the spread and impact of COVID-19. SAGE is the most suitable mechanism to provide scientific advice.

The Government understands how important it is to have expert scientific advice as it controls COVID-19. The Government Office for Science is headed by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance who together with Chris Whitty the chief medical officer chairs the meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. The Government Office for Science maintains a register of world-renowned scientific experts who have indicated they would be willing to participate in a SAGE meeting. It is essential that the government has instant access to the very best scientific advice from appropriate scientific experts when dealing with its response to the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic. The government considers that the expertise of its chief government scientific adviser together with the expertise of the Government Office for Science are best placed to know who the appropriate experts are. An important feature of the system is that the experts are independent and are free to express his or her opinion without any external influence. To ensure the government has ready access to the advice it needs it is essential that the appropriate expert may provide his or her opinion at short notice; this can only be achieved by reliance upon a detailed knowledge of which experts are appropriate which is located in the Government Chief Scientific Advisor and the Government Office for Science.

The government does not consider that selecting any scientist by popular referenda would ensure that the most appropriate scientific expert was selected and the time that such referenda would take would cause significant delay and hamper the government’s ability to be provided with the necessary scientific advice in the shortest possible time. The Government Office for Science is continually reviewing and updating its list of experts in conjunction with leading UK scientific experts. The government is confident that the list of experts represents a broad range of scientific opinion and is the most suitable method to ensure that the government is provided with world-renowned and world leading scientific advice.

The strategic framework for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is to be found on this link:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/80087/sage-guidance.pdf

Defining SAGE membership is to be found at p18 onwards.

This publicly available publication provides detailed information about SAGE its remit and role.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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