Health Minister Has Apologised For Attending Meeting After Positive Covid Test
Gillian Keegan said she recorded a positive lateral flow test but did not end an in-person meeting with bereaved fathers (Alamy)
Health minister Gillian Keegan has apologised for continuing an in-person meeting despite knowing she had returned a positive for Covid-19 with a lateral flow test.
Keegan was meeting three beareaved fathers who lost their daughters to suicide to discuss suicide prevention measures in schools.
In a thread posted to Twitter last night, Keegan admitted that she found out during the meeting she had tested positive for Covid-19, but continued with the event.
"With their consent, I stayed for a short period to hear their stories,” she said, claiming "further precautions" were taken. Keegan did not specify what they were.
The three dads have raised almost £1million for charity with sponsored walks and are calling for the government to put suicide prevention on the national curriculum.
Keegan apologised for having decided to continue with the meeting. “I should have immediately ended the meeting and on reflection this was an error of judgment on my part," she said.
“I fully recognise the importance of following the letter and spirit of the policies, so want to be upfront about what happened and to apologise for the mistake I made.”
Current government rules on Covid-19 say an individual must isolate "straight away" if they record a positive lateral flow result.
Last summer former health secretary Matt Hancock resigned from the position after he was found to be breaking Covid regulations while having an affair.
Fellow health minister Ed Argar said he understands the health secretary Sajod Javid has accepted an apology from Keegan over the incident.
"She's clearly issued a fulsome apology there, that she did make an error of judgment, she was open about that and she accepted she made an error of judgment," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.
"I understand that she has also spoken to and apologised to the Secretary of State, who has accepted that apology," he added.
Keegan, who is the minister for care and mental health, was meeting with Mike Palmer, Andy Airey and Tim Owen in Westminster yesterday.
Known as “3DadsWalking”, they embarked on a challenge to walk 300 miles in 15 days last October to raise money and awareness of teenage suicide.
Following the meeting Keegan put out a statement saying that listening to their experience "really brings home" the devastating impact of suicide on people close to them.
“I am absolutely committed to supporting children’s mental health and suicide prevention, and am grateful to Mike, Andy and Tim for coming forward to talk about their own losses and sharing Sophie, Emily and Beth’s stories with me," she said.
“It was lovely to meet them and hear about their amazing work to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health and suicide.”
The Conservative MP for Chichester, first elected in 2017, confirmed she was now isolating at home and "fortunately feel fine".
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