This guide provides information for all RCN members, across the health and social care workforce, including students, on what to do if you are asked to move from your normal working environment. The guidance applies to all fields of practice and all settings.
Context of need for redeployment due to infection outbreak/pandemic:
As a pandemic, COVID-19 will require health and social care professionals to be flexible in what they do. It may entail working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings or working in clinical areas outside of their usual practice for the benefit of patients, individuals and the population as a whole. Any redeployment must be done within the basic principles of best practice and with a rational, pragmatic approach to varying practice to cover this emergency.
The temporary movement of staff is a necessary part of business continuity for all health care areas, which enables the delivery of core essential services required by an increasing number of patients and/or to cover for expected/unexpected staff absence.
The planning and preparation for a pandemic situation has focused primarily on influenza infection but the principles within these plans apply to COVID-19.
There is a general expectation within the NMC Code that nursing staff support in emergency situations within the bounds of their individual competence and providing the appropriate safeguards, including relevant personal protective equipment (PPE), are in place. See also the HSE guidance.
The NMC and other health care regulators have recognised that this is an extraordinary situation and will present challenging issues. They have published a joint statement on how they will regulate and take the current situation into context.
The temporary movement of staff in this context is specifically for the purposes of support as the organisation manages high demand and increases in patient volumes and care needs due to COVID-19.