Be prepared for the statutory COVID-19 public inquiry

Earlier this month NHS England told local NHS organisations that they must start preparing for the statutory public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic. Any organisation might be called upon to provide evidence for the statutory inquiry, and individuals may be required to give evidence under oath. Government said last month that a statutory public inquiry would begin in spring next year.

These are the “four key areas of action” local NHS leaders were asked to consider:

  • “ensuring robust and comprehensive records management
  • embedding systematic approaches to log key leavers, carry out exit processes and retain contact details
  • considering wellbeing support for staff who may have to provide evidence
  • appointing a named inquiry lead.”

NHS England also issued a “stop notice” instructing staff  to “retain all documents” and suggests local NHS organisations may want to “adapt” the stop notice for their own use. NHSE will set up a programme management office for the public inquiry. Its work will include coordinating “support on good practice (e.g. training)” in relation to the inquiry. The message was delivered as part of a longer regular newsletter from NHS England’s deputy chief executive Amanda Pritchard.

At Hempsons we have been involved in numerous public inquiries and we will use our extensive experience to support our clients through the process. We would be delighted to hear from you with any concerns you have so we can build that into our support package.