The Covid-19 Inquiry has opened its third investigation, Module 3, which is primarily focussed on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Module 3 will examine the impact and consequences of the pandemic on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare sectors systems and how this evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the Module that will be of most interest to all healthcare bodies.

Scope and timeframe 

The proposed timetable for Module 3 is as follows:

The window for applying for core participant status opened on 8 November 2022 and will close on 5 December 2022. Preliminary hearings will be held in spring 2023. 

The Inquiry has provided further details about Module 3 in its Provisional Outline of Scope document.

Module 3 will consider the:

  1. Impact of Covid-19 on people’s experience of healthcare.
  2. Core decision-making and leadership within healthcare systems during the pandemic.
  3. Staffing levels and critical care capacity, the establishment and use of Nightingale hospitals and the use of private hospitals.
  4. 111, 999 and ambulance services, GP surgeries and hospitals and cross-sectional co-operation between services.
  5. Healthcare provision and treatment for patients with Covid-19, healthcare systems’ response to clinical trials and research during the pandemic. The allocation of staff and resources. The impact on those requiring care for reasons other than Covid-19. Quality of treatment for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients, delays in treatment, waiting lists and people not seeking or receiving treatment. Palliative care. The discharge of patients from hospital.
  6. Decision-making about the nature of healthcare to be provided for patients with Covid-19, its escalation and the provision of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, including the use of do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructions (DNACPRs).
  7. Impact of the pandemic on doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff, including on those in training and specific groups of healthcare workers (for example by reference to ethnic background). Availability of healthcare staff. The NHS surcharge for non-UK healthcare staff and the decision to remove the surcharge.
  8. Preventing the spread of Covid-19 within healthcare settings, including infection control, the adequacy of PPE and rules about visiting those in hospital.
  9. Communication with patients with Covid-19 and their loved ones about patients’ condition and treatment, including discussions about DNACPRs.
  10. Deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in terms of the numbers, classification and recording of deaths, including the impact on specific groups of healthcare workers, for example by reference to ethnic background and geographical location.
  11. Shielding and the impact on the clinically vulnerable (including those referred to as “clinically extremely vulnerable”).
  12. Characterisation and identification of Post-Covid Condition (including the condition referred to as long Covid) and its diagnosis and treatment.

How Capsticks can help 

Of all of the Modules in the Covid-19 Inquiry, Module 3 will be that of which the healthcare sector is most heavily involved in. The scope of the Module from leadership decision-making, to staffing, to ‘long Covid’ means that there will be focus on the early days of the pandemic through to current provision of care for long Covid. Alongside this, the Module will assess the impact and management of Covid in relation to staffing, ambulance services, primary care and the impact of Covid on healthcare workers, thereby encompassing the full range of healthcare providers.

We have previously discussed the benefits of core participant status and we can fully support you with the decision as to whether or not to make an application. Having been closely involved in establishing and working on statutory public inquiries and other major investigations for many years, our experts have first-hand experience of the most significant public inquiries over the last decade.

For further information on the services we can provide both now and as the Inquiry process continues to take shape, please follow this link.

If you have any queries around what's discussed in this article, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Francis Lyons, Georgia Ford, Hugh Giles, Adam Hartrick or Naomi McMaster to find out more about how Capsticks can help.