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 funding
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
COVID-19: Top tips for remote inquest hearings
As we see the re-opening of Coroners’ courts following the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue our series of inquest-related insights with our top tips for partially remote inquest hearings, available here.
COVID-19: New Chief Coroner’s guidance on remote hearings
As we see the re-opening of courts following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Coroner has issued new guidance on "Remote participation in Coronial proceedings via video and audio broadcast". In this insight, we comment on the key points of the guidance, available here.
Return to work and risk assessments during COVID-19: Health and social care
For a successful return to work during COVID-19, employers have a duty to carry out a risk assessment, implement safe systems of work and to keep these under review. Our risk assessment flowchart sets out the key issues for employers to consider, available here.
COVID-19: Social care FAQs on Deprivation of Liberty and movement in the community
This FAQ provides a summary of the current position and the factors which care providers, care co-ordinators and commissioners of community care need to be aware of and actively consider when looking at the care and treatment service users are receiving. Read more here.
COVID-19: CQC and the Emergency Support Framework
Having suspended its inspection regime in March following the COVID-19 outbreak, CQC has now launched a new Emergency Support Framework (ESF). Under the framework, inspectors will set up a one hour online meeting with managers or nominated individuals, to discuss the stresses and challenges services are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We explore the key features and what this means for your NHS Trust in our insight, available here.
COVID-19 and the new General Permitted Development Order
The General Permitted Development Order 2020 came into effect on 9 April, allowing local authorities and certain health service bodies to carry out development for dealing with emergencies. We look at its effect and impact in the current climate, available here.
COVID-19 and general practice indemnity
The COVID-19 outbreak has presented unprecedented challenges for general practice in relation to the delivery of care. We have received a number of questions about indemnity cover arising from changes to personnel and the way that care is delivered during the emergency. We have compiled guidance and some FAQs to assist healthcare practitioners and managers in general practice navigate their way around the key issues, available here.
COVID-19: Landlord and tenant FAQs
The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a number of challenges for landlords and tenants, and we are advising many of our clients on issues arising from the restrictions that are in place to control the spread of the outbreak. Here we set out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions—together with some practical options—in our insight article, available here.
COVID-19 and the Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding
The Coronavirus Act 2020 implements changes which effectively suspend CCG’s and NHS Trust’s duties to carry out assessments under Regulations 21 and 28 of the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) Regulations 2012, and the CHC Framework. Further guidance on the temporary CHC arrangements is also found in the COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements. The purpose of these changes is to support the urgent discharge of patients who are not required to remain in hospital, and to ease the burden of CHC assessments in and out of hospital settings, and free up clinical and support staff to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Read our insight article, available here.
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.
Key provisions for healthcare organisations
The Coronavirus Act will give the government the power to take urgent action to tackle the issues caused by the virus. The operation of some of the provisions will be controlled by further regulations, with the Government having the power to commence, suspend and revive the powers set out in this legislation. To keep you and your teams up to date with the ongoing changes this legislation brings and how it may impact your organisation, we have summarised the key provisions in our article, available here.