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Drop in to see the latest newsletters, government review responses and conference papers from the Reset Ethics research project.

July 2021

The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts has now held 20 evidence sessions on various aspects of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Reset Ethics team is pleased to see our research listed in the written evidence to the Committee’s report published on 25th July, setting out the Committee’s views on what government can learn from its response to the pandemic and what it should do to ensure that those lessons are applied. This report is the first in a body of evidence the Committee is developing which will inform the future independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public inquiry is expected to start in spring 2022 and, assuming it may take some years to complete, the Committee is clear that government cannot wait for the review before learning important lessons.

Dr Caroline Redhead presented an outline of the Reset Ethics research and our preliminary findings to two different audiences at one of our participating NHS Foundation Trusts. Caroline hosted a teaching session for paediatric specialists on Wednesday 14th July, and presented to a meeting of the clinical ethics committee on Wednesday 21st July. Some very interesting discussions resulted, and we are grateful for the reflections of all participants.

The Reset Ethics team has been busy over the last few months. Interviews have been ongoing, we have held five public focus groups, and one focus group with healthcare professionals. Another HCP focus group is planned for later this month. We have also been publishing and disseminating our initial findings.

Read the Reset Ethics Newsletter No3 - July 2021 (PDF) 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus (APPG) is calling for evidence to be submitted to inform its recommendations to the UK Government. Its aim is to ensure that lessons are learned from the UK’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, so that the UK’s response and preparedness may be improved in future. Our response to the APPG presented the preliminary findings of our research. In summary, we have found that:

  • healthcare professionals have lacked structured ethical support during the ‘reset’ phase of the pandemic;
  • Infection prevention and control measures have impacted on the nature and quality of ‘care’ that healthcare professionals have been able to offer, and this has affected emotional and social support for patients at critical times; and
  • frontline healthcare professionals’ mental health will be affected where healthcare professionals lack practical ethical support.

We suggested to the APPG that values-based decision-making is a key aspect of managing healthcare services during a pandemic, and transparency as to what, and how, values underpin decision-making is crucial to support healthcare decision-makers. Transparency, clarity and consistency are equally important in communications with patients and families. Our key recommendation to the APPG was that attention must be paid to the ethical dimensions of decision-making for healthcare professionals and organisations, both in the acute phase of a pandemic, but also in the ‘reset’ phase, where non-COVID-19 services are recovered and restored while new infection control measures continue to be managed.

Download and read our full Response to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus:

June 2021

Dr Lucy Frith, our Principal Investigator, presented a paper at the University of Liverpool Postgraduate Bioethics Conference, held online on 24th-25th June, 2021. The Conference Theme was ‘Voices and Values in Bioethics’. You can download and read the abstract of Lucy’s presentation:

Women’s Health Call 

The Department for health and Social Care has recently called for evidence to support the development of the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy. Matt Hancock’s statement noted that, for generations, women have lived with a health and care system that is mostly designed by men, for men. The call for evidence will underpin what the Government has described as ‘an end-to-end look at women’s health, from adolescence to older age’. Amongst other things, the call asked for evidence regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on women’s health. Our response concentrates on the impact of COVID-19 on maternity services and is informed by the preliminary findings of our research. Download and read our response:

The Public Accounts Committee has issued a call for evidence on the initial lessons to be learned from the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Call asks for evidence across six key themes, identified in a report by the National Audit Office, Initial learning from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our response to the call for evidence, emphasises the importance of attending to the ethical dimensions of decision-making to support healthcare professionals and organisations:

Reset Ethics Pandemic and Beyond 3 presentation slides

The Pandemic and Beyond presentation

Our Reset Ethics research is one of the AHRC funded COVID-19 projects to be involved in the ‘Pandemic and Beyond’ programme.

The Pandemic and Beyond programme is exploring the wide-ranging impact of Arts and Humanities research projects in mitigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can view our Conference slides below:

May 2021

The research group is pleased to announce their new newsletter:

March 2021

The government is reviewing whether COVID-status certification could play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. It will consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of a potential certification scheme, and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. Read our response to the COVID-Status Certification Review Call for evidence:

Dr. Caroline Redhead presented our paper entitled 'Relationships, Rights and Responsibilities: (Re)viewing the NHS Constitution for the post-pandemic 'new normal' in the Medical Law, Healthcare and Bioethics stream at the Socio-Legal Studies Association 2021 conference. 740 delegates from over 40 countries attended the three-day Conference, hosted by Cardiff University.

December 2020

Prof. Heather Draper gave the Hoffenberg Lecture to the British Transplant Society's Winter Ethics Symposium on 3rd December 2020. Heather's lecture was entitled, 'Transplant Ethics and the pandemic legacy'.
Dr. Anna Chiumento presented the results of our rapid review to "Looking Forward/Looking Back: Law, Ethics, and Policy in the Age of COVID-19". Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law meeting, 3rd - 4th December 2020. The results have now been written up for publication. For more information, please see the first of our periodic Newsletters:

November 2020

Prof. Heather Draper gave a paper to a clinical ethics training conference at University Hospital Coventry on 25 November 2020. The paper was entitled, ‘Duty to work during the Covid-19 pandemic’.


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Study documents

Download study documents and information relating to the Reset Ethics project.

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Reports for participants

Download Interviews and Focus Group reports relating to the Reset Ethics project.