Devon Ethical Framework

Engaging local people on the Devon Ethical Framework and decision-making guidance on the allocation and withdrawal of treatment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Engagement on the Ethical Framework is now complete, the final engagement report and feedback report can be found here.

In readiness for a second wave of Cornavirus where demand for treatment might outweigh supply, an ethical framework has been developed to support the NHS in Devon manage the pandemic.

We addressed this highly sensitive and emotive issue head on. Using our nationally recognised Citizens Panel, targeted focus groups and a public webinar, we developed a communications strategy that ensured the people of Devon could shape this work.

To our knowledge, we are the only NHS organisations to have undertaken engagement on their local framework. Our work is therefore ground-breaking.

The initiative is considered across the STP as exemplar in engaging on difficult issues. Honest and inclusive communications resulted in genuine conversations about real challenges facing the NHS.

Our aims for the engagement: 

  1. Support understanding of the framework and guidance by developing a public facing summary
  2. Provide an opportunity for the people of Devon to review and feedback on the policies
  3. Gain a representative view from the people of Devon about the policies
  4. Target engagement at groups at greater risk from Covid-19, ensuring improvements to the policies were based on direct experience. 
  5. Create a platform where people affected by the policies could discuss their impacts with clinicians and policy makers.
  6. Provide feedback to those who contributed to the engagement (and beyond) on how their contributions have been used.

Outcomes of the engagement

The feedback resulted in 26 recommendations, which were subsequently approved, about different elements of the documents. 

Four recommendations were made about the Framework.

20 recommendations were made about the Guidance.

22 recommendations were made about the implementation of the Framework and or Guidance.

The final versions of the Devon Ethical Reference Group (DERG), on which we focused the engagement, can be found here:

  • The Devon-wide Ethical Framework, click here to view.
  • Decision-making guidance on the allocation and withdrawal of organ support and/or treatments for people with coronavirus, click here to view.

Click here to read the NHS Devon CCG board paper approving the documents.

Click here to read the full engagement report.

Click here to read the complete list of recommendations.