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NHS England and CQC deploy clinical staff to coronavirus frontline

NHS England and the CQC have deployed clinical staff to frontline practice to support the NHS response to coronavirus (Covid-19).

In NHS England’s letter to GP practices last week, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said that ‘clinically-qualified’ staff at NHS England and Improvement are ‘now being redeployed to frontline clinical practice’.

The CQC – which announced last week it was immediately suspending all routine inspections – also said that clinically-qualified CQC special advisors have ‘already returned to the frontline’.

In a letter to healthcare providers, CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said: ‘Clinically qualified CQC special advisors have already returned to the frontline to help with the wider national response; we have offered the DHSC, Public Health England and NHS England our staff where they have relevant skills and a number have been seconded already; and we expect to be using our customer contact centre to start taking non-clinical COVID-19 calls from next week in support of 111.

‘In addition, we are asking our teams to stand ready to help any other part of the national effort whether that be in the public or private sector.’

He added: ‘We hope this reassures you of CQC’s commitment to offering the health and care system all the support possible to ensure that people – those who use services and those who work in them – are kept safe during this global health emergency.’

Mr Stevens said that ‘urgent’ work is also underway to deploy ‘clinical academics’ as well as medical and nursing students – with the scheme to be finalised ‘in the next week’.

He added: ‘All appropriate registered nurses, midwives and AHPs currently in non-patient facing roles will be asked to support direct clinical practice in the NHS in the next few weeks, following appropriate local induction and support.’

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced earlier this week that over 5,000 medical students and nearly 19,000 final-year nurses will graduate early to join the NHS coronavirus effort.

The GMC has also written to 5,000 recently-retired GPs asking them to come back to work.