Our Approach

This engagement has now ended, the below was published during July 2020

Our Approach 

For patients with COVID-19 in Devon the NHS has so far been able to treat everyone who has needed treatment.  That is likely to continue to be the case.

In the event that we see futures waves of the pandemic and demand for treatment becomes greater than the available supply, the NHS in Devon is developing a framework and guidance to help doctors make difficult decisions on allocating treatment.  This may be an unlikely scenario but it is important that serious thought is given to it in advance.

The work has been undertaken by the Devon Ethical Reference Group, a panel made up of hospital doctors and GPs; specialists in mental health, community services and public health; healthcare commissioners, lay members and ethicists. The group have drawn on their extensive specialist knowledge and experience.

The panel has also consulted trusted sources of information including the British Medical Association and the Intensive Care Society.

The panel has developed two documents, which cover the NHS in Devon (including the geographic areas covering Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council)

  • The Devon-wide Ethical Framework
  • Decision-making guidance on the allocation and withdrawal of organ support and/or treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic

A summary of these documents which describes why they are needed and what is in them has also been developed.

Engaging local people

Before the documents are taken to the Governing Bodies and Boards of Devon’s NHS organisations for consideration and approval in July, we are asking people across Devon for their views.

The engagement period runs from 17 June to 10 July.

The Virtual Voices Panel

The Devon Virtual Voices Panel has over 1,700 members and has been recruited to be a demographic representation of the people of Devon.

We are sharing the framework and guidance with this panel and asking for their feedback on key aspects of it.

Find out more about the Virtual Voices Panel.

Targeted Focus Groups

 Several focus groups are planned with people who may be more affected by this framework than others. We are working with partners to support us with this work.

Public Webinar

Once the survey and focus groups are complete, there will be an online webinar for members of the virtual voices panel and other key stakeholders.

The webinar will include a presentation and the opportunity to ask questions of local experts connected with the documents.

Public opportunity to share views on the documents

The summary and the documents are available below.

We encourage you to read them in full and welcome any comments you have.

Please send us your feedback via email to marking the subject of your email ‘Devon Ethical Framework’.  

 Next steps

 Once the engagement is complete, recommendations will then be presented to the Devon Ethical Reference Group for their consideration.

The final framework and guidance will then be shared with Governing Bodies and Boards of Devon’s NHS organisations for consideration and approval.