Getting ready for the COVID-19 public inquiry

Getting ready for the COVID-19 public inquiry

As we reported in June 2021, local NHS organisations have been told that they must start preparing for the statutory public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic which is expected to begin in spring 2022. Any organisation can be called upon to provide evidence for the statutory inquiry, and individuals may be required to give evidence under oath. With extensive public inquiry experience, we are here to help.

Getting Ready

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Chief Operating Officer and NHS Improvement’s (NHSE&I) Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, has written to healthcare leaders asking for action to be taken in preparation for the public inquiry. NHSE&I identified have “four key areas of action”:

  • 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

NHSE&I have also confirmed that they have issued a “stop notice”, instructing its own staff to “retain all documents”. They recommended that local providers consider taking similar action.

Although the Terms of Reference for the public inquiry have not yet been established, it is important to take action now. Whatever role your organisation may ultimately have in the public inquiry, whether as a core participant or providing witness evidence, the process can be burdensome. The challenges of a public inquiry, even in more normal times, can put pressures on organisations and individuals in ensuring that full and accurate accounts are provided.

How we can help

Drawing on many years of experience in supporting health and social care providers in major public inquiries and investigations, we are here to help by:

  • providing strategic advice to the Board
  • providing practical guidance and support in managing the immediate actions identified by NHSE&I
  • supporting your organisation with preservation, organisation, sequencing and classification of documentation
  • informing and supporting the organisation and individuals

To help you understand and plan for the forthcoming inquiry, we are planning a series of webinar sessions to support you as you start to prepare.

Click here to be notified of Hempsons COVID-19 inquiry webinar series.

To discuss how we can tailor our COVID-19 package of support to best meet the needs of your organisation, or to receive further information, please contact the team.

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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.

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