1 March 2023

The COVID-19 Airborne Transmission Alliance (CATA), which comprises a group of leading healthcare professional bodies and experts representing 64,000 healthcare workers, has been granted core participant status in Module 3 of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

The RCSLT is an important partner of the alliance, representing speech and language therapists and RCSLT CEO, Kamini Gadhok is CATA’s vice chair.

CATA was formed as a response to the UK Covid-19 inquiry by the COVID Airborne Protection Alliance (CAPA). CAPA itself was originally known as the Aerosol Generating Procedures Alliance (AGPA) and formed in August 2020 due to concerns organisations and individuals had on then UK Government policy. It changed its name to CAPA in September 2021.

The coalition has campaigned relentlessly to protect healthcare workers and their patients from both catching and transmitting the virus. The lack of acceptance of airborne COVID-19 transmission by the Government has led to dangerous policies, decisions and practices that deprived healthcare workers of the correct Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and put them and their patients at risk of illness and death.

CATA will seek to ensure that its knowledge of the existing and developing scientific evidence base for the aerosol transmission of COVID-19, its understanding of the legal framework, and the lived experiences of its members, are made available to the Inquiry. In addition, it seeks to also address wider concerns about the effective management and impact of respiratory risks in healthcare across acute and community settings through the pandemic.

Being a core participant will enable the RCSLT to raise the impact of policy decisions which resulted in closed or restricted access to healthcare services for the public and patients across all age ranges. Examples include children who are now presenting with more complex communication needs and adults with progressive or acquired conditions e.g. stroke, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s and cancer, presenting with more complex clinical conditions.

Commenting on the alliance Kamini Gadhok said “CATA represents a wide range of healthcare workers, experts and patients, who have often been ignored by the Government in the pandemic. We have fought for so long for the safety of others and this feels like the final hurdle to being heard. Our primary aim all along has been to protect those on the frontline and we look forward to making our case for change.”

As core participants, CATA has appointed Saunders Law to represent it at the Inquiry.

Find out more about the COVID-19 Inquiry.