Parliamentary briefing: Renewal of the temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act
- Coronavirus has presented the NHS with its biggest challenge in a generation, putting the system under an unprecedented level of strain at a time when demand for health and care services was already at an all-time high and in the context of workforce vacancies and a constrained financial envelope.
- While the NHS was well placed to respond to the pandemic, having well-rehearsed emergency and business continuity plans in place and a national health service with highly skilled staff, decisive measures in the Coronavirus Act on the emergency registration of health professionals, NHS continuing healthcare assessments and the temporary modification of mental health and mental capacity legislation, helped support the NHS through the first peak of infection.
- Trusts would welcome the ongoing flexibility provided by the Act to help tackle the sizeable backlog of planned care that built during the pandemic and to maintain the NHS’ ability to respond to a second wave of COVID-19 as well as winter pressures.
- We believe any future discussions or decisions regarding the renewal of temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act should be based on their efficacy, a thorough assessment of demands on the health and care system, and full consultation with relevant stakeholders including frontline organisations such as NHS trusts, to consider whether these provisions should be maintained or amended and over what timeframe.