During the first phase of the COVID-19 response, the whole NHS – including employers and our people – needed reassurance that whatever new roles they took on were legal and covered by employers’ indemnity. So NHS England and NHS Improvement worked with a wide range of key partners to develop guidance and establish a framework to ensure that our people were safely and legally deployed.
For example, staffing ratios in critical care were reviewed to ensure that there were enough staff in place to respond to the unprecedented demand for these skills. NHS bodies also worked in close partnership with other sectors, including supporting social care with infection prevention and control training. Meanwhile, academia and industry developed solutions to enable mass testing, technological advances and widescale remote working across the NHS, in response to the pandemic.
Health and care systems deployed staff and students across organisations and sectors. Voluntary sector organisations of all sizes stepped forward to help the NHS – for example, supporting with hospital discharge – to free up our people to focus on other aspects of the response.