All of the ethical guidelines and support tools produced so far have largely concentrated on managing Covid patients during the first wave. Virtually no attention has been paid to the ethical issues and dilemmas resulting from the initial decimation and the reorganisation of non-Covid-related health services. This project redresses that balance. It will pay particular attention to whether pre-pandemic ‘everyday ethics’ in clinical care and at the level of organisations need to adapt to the new Covid-19 realities as non-Covid-19 services are reset. The project will focus on maternity care and paediatrics as two of the non-Covid areas which have been significantly affected by the response to the pandemic.
We will work closely with selected NHS trusts in England, and conduct an ethical analysis of current policies and processes guiding the reorganisation of services; speak to frontline healthcare providers about their experiences of reconfiguring and resetting services; speak to services users and members of the public; and develop and pilot test approaches to ethics support tailored to the needs of professionals working in these settings.
The project is funded by the UKRI AHRC rapid Covid call and will run for 12 months from July 2020 – July 2021. The project is being conducted by a multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Lucy Frith, University of Liverpool with Dr Anna Chiumento and Dr Caroline Redhead (University of Liverpool), Professor Heather Draper and Dr Paul Baines (University of Warwick), and Professor Sara Fovargue (Lancaster University).