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Retaining urgent and temporary changes

Covid-19 has had many different impacts on us. For many NHS bodies, it has meant having to make a range of emergency, urgent or temporary changes to services in order to manage staff and other resources to combat Covid-19 and provide care where it is most needed. In many cases, it has been about working smarter with available resources, ensuring quality is maintained.


Earlier in April, my colleagues Paul Parsons and Caroline Latta posted excellent guidance on making urgent or temporary changes. You can find it at They finished by pointing out that a body might determine the benefit of retaining any such urgent change and that they would still need to meet the guidance as set out in ‘Planning, assuring and delivering service change for patients (NHS England 2018)’. For Health Bodies in the rest of the UK, their respective guidance also requires them to meet current Duties.


My colleagues and I now find that we are receiving increasing inquiries about what is required regarding public involvement and consultation in retaining urgent and temporary changes. Our advice has been that retention is possible but that you do still need to meet the statutory and public law duties. The way that you might do this is not necessarily the same as it would have been prior to the urgent and temporary changes.


What determines the process will vary. Your starting point will have changed, history and processes have to be considered, how you involve people in ‘development and consideration’ of proposals will be different, as may be the way you can make decisions. There are a number of factors. As usual, it is like navigating a minefield; it is just an altered minefield. You must still navigate a safe path.


To this end, my colleagues and I at the Institute are offering to help you review your scenario and advise of the path you might take. If you would like to explore this, please feel free to contact us.


If you would like to arrange a chat to discuss in more detail, please contact Karen Fourie or Rebecca Wright

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