We are getting regular and unique queries relating to the extraordinary measures that clients are having to take in the battle to fight the Coronavirus. When we tackle an issue, we are ensuring that this knowledge is shared across our expert lawyers so that others do not need to reinvent the wheel. We are also offering interim support to clients where they need help with core functions, either due to resources being diverted elsewhere or due to staff absences. We can take on a range of functions and provide these to your Trust remotely, such as:
- Access to records, FOIA and Data Protection Officer functions
- Complaints management
- Claims management and litigation
- General medico-legal advice helpline service
- Delayed transfer of care hotline
- Individual Funding Requests
- Inquest management and coroner liaison
- Human resources services
Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you wish to receive interim support in this way or if you wish to us to help you with contingency plans just in case. In addition to this interim support, we are also supporting our clients as follows:
1. We are supporting NHS Employers with its response to queries on Coronavirus. We have also produced our own FAQs on the human resources implications of Coronavirus, which will be updated regularly, available here.
2. Assisting with a wide variety of clinical law and governance related queries, such as:
- Indemnity arrangements for returning staff or students, or professionals working outside their usual area of expertise
- Advice on COVID-19 treatment and commissioning decisions. We have prepared checklists for healthcare professionals to consider when planning care pathways with patients and families, covering Best Interests, the use of Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions refusing treatment
- Live-streaming of board meetings (to avoid public attendance)
- How to ask local coroners to postpone all inquests involving front line staff
- Clean shaven policies for staff
- Compliance with subject access and FOI requests
- Temporary reconfiguration of key clinical services
3. Our real estate team has been helping organisations set up drive-through testing facilities in car parks of premises that they own/lease and develop additional estate capacity.
4. Our corporate, commercial and litigation teams are supporting clients in a number of ways:
- Contractual issues arising out of the temporary cancellation of events or supply chains
- Emergency procurement processes for medical supplies (including remote monitoring tech)
- Delaying existing procurement processes to focus on the Coronavirus outbreak
- Temporary variations to cleaning and infection control contracts
- The impact of force majeure clauses
5. We are advising on the content of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and what this means for our clients. Similarly, we are advising our healthcare clients on the latest guidance from NHS England.
6. Our clinical advisory team are providing support and advice to clients on the impact of COVID-19 in the following areas:
- Mental Capacity Act, including deprivation of liberty
- Court of Protection proceedings
- Discharge processes
- Mental Health Act
- Continuing Healthcare
The team are also providing clients with more detailed specific advice regarding the challenges around critical care clinical treatment decisions.
These are just some of the areas where we providing assistance and we are firmly committed to doing what we can to help to support you in the important work you’re doing.
Relevant insights from Capsticks
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough leave
The Government announced the launch of the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), where employers can “furlough” staff and HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of the employee’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. We list the most frequently asked questions received in relation to the CJRS and furlough leave and address some of the key issues in our article, available here.
Clinical claims – guidance and support
We have been helping clients in a number of ways in light of the unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. We set out examples of the support that we are giving to our clients and other useful guidance in our article, available here.
We have compiled these FAQs for organisations in the healthcare, social care and emergency services sectors regarding how Coroners are approaching inquests in the current climate and how demands on organisations and their professional witnesses can best be managed, available here.