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Reset Ethics

reset ethics
Investigators: Dr Lucy Frith, University of Liverpool with Dr Anna Chiumento and Dr Caroline Redhead (University of Liverpool), Dr Carol Gray (University of Liverpool), Professor Heather Draper and Dr Paul Baines (University of Warwick), and Professor Sara Fovargue (Lancaster University).

The response to the Covid-19 pandemic caused huge disruptions to the routine functioning of healthcare systems across the world. Understandably, attention has been focussed on the ethical issues raised by frontline care of Covid-19 cases.

The ethical guidelines and support tools produced so far have largely concentrated on managing Covid-19 patients during the first wave. Virtually no attention has been paid to the ethical challenges of reinstating the non-Covid-related health services that were suspended to support the care of those with Covid-19.

This project redresses that balance. It will pay attention to ‘everyday ethics’ in clinical care, and at the level of organisations, of the incorporation of the new Covid-19 realities (the ‘new normal’) as non-Covid-19 services are restarted and reset. The project will focus on maternity care and paediatrics as two of the non-Covid-19 areas which have been significantly affected by the response to the pandemic. We have outlined the scope of the problems in COVID-19 and beyond: the ethical challenges of resetting health services during and after public health emergencies.

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.


COVID-19 and beyond: the ethical challenges of resetting health services during and after public health emergencies

lancaster uni and uni of liverpool

Study documents

Summary Participant Information

Participant Information Sheet


In response to the UK Government's call for evidence to inform the review into COVID-status certification ('vaccine passports') we prepared a brief response to the consultation following a preliminary review of the initial interviews with Healthcare staff as part of the Reset Ethics project.

Dr. Caroline Redhead will be presenting our paper entitled 'Relationships, Rights and Responsibilities: (Re)viewing the NHS Constitution for the post-pandemic 'new normal' in March at the Socio-Legal Studies Association 2021 conference.

Anna Chiumento presented the results of our rapid review to Looking Forward/Looking Back: Law, Ethics, and Policy in the Age of COVID-19” Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law meeting 3-4th December 2020.


We will blog with updates as the project progresses.

See our blog in the Journal of Medical Ethics, "Beyond the initial Covid tsunami: (re)viewing the ethical challenges in balancing public health and the ongoing health needs of individuals and their families as NHS services are reset" here.

Our blog on the Socio-Legal Studies Association website, "Reset Ethics: Supporting Ethical Decision-Making in non-Covid Health Services", can be accessed here. "

This work is funded by by the UKRI AHRC rapid Covid call and will run for 12 months from July 2020 – July 2021.