The Covid-19 pandemic and reactive measures from governments to restrict us meeting face-to-face have particularly highlighted the vital need for organisations to utilise technology to provide goods and services.
Please note: the information contained in this legal update is correct as of the original date of publication.
The Covid-19 pandemic and reactive measures from governments to restrict us meeting face-to-face have particularly highlighted the vital need for organisations to utilise technology to provide goods and services. Those operating in the health sector are no different. For most organisations, this means some form of digital transformation, whether it be the use of new healthcare technology to deliver front-line services such as digital GP apps (see our article “consent in the Covid-19 world and beyond” in our first issue), or the implementation of a new or replacement tower within an organisation’s core IT infrastructure.
We continue to work with many health sector organisations, from government departments to private healthcare providers, advising on the key legal, regulatory and commercial risks involved in their digital transformation projects. Key to an organisation’s effective digital transformation is ensuring secure integration and interoperability between systems, as well as effective collaboration models. Take each in turn.
Rather than having separate elements of the IT infrastructure operating in isolation, organisations should be thinking about how each particular function speaks to, and interacts with, other functions to create an efficient end-to-end technology system. Front-line healthcare as a whole has faced this issue for many years (take GP records being separate and distinct from hospital records as one example). However, this is also an issue for individual organisations and entities as well.
Systems integrations can be achieved through one-off projects, or integration can be captured within the overall service description of a wider procurement with a technology provider, in which case the detail can be agreed and set out as a particular service package. Importantly, there are key considerations when integrating systems, including (amongst other things): the implementation of application programming interfaces (APIs) between systems; associated IP ownership and licensing considerations; the secure and proper handling of sensitive personal data transfers; and the demarcation of responsibilities, liabilities and risks generally, should anything go wrong.
Next, consider collaboration. Typically, an organisation’s digital transformation will involve a multi-supplier environment. Ensuring that all of these suppliers collaborate to provide an efficient and fully functioning end-to-end technology solution for an organisation is a huge challenge.
A key tool used to overcome this challenge is a “Collaboration Framework”. We have recently advised on and developed bespoke Collaboration Frameworks with a number of health sector clients. Such frameworks are put in place between the organisation and all of its technology providers across the IT estate, and are structured such that they are woven into the individual contracts with each service provider, applying an overarching set of collaborative behaviours, obligations and principles with which all parties must comply for the benefit of the organisation. This is intricately linked in to the cross-party “responsibilities” and “dependencies” (including those on the organisation itself) which are set out in each of the respective contracts. Often, a service partner or a service integration and management (SIAM) role is appointed to manage and operate the Collaboration Framework, overseeing compliance.
The recent news of effective vaccines for Covid-19 being available in the relatively near future is very promising, but even if we start to move back towards “normal”, it is likely that the trend towards a reliance on technology, and therefore the need for digital transformation, is only going to continue to increase. The approach organisations take towards integration and collaboration will form a crucial part of this.
To hear more advice on implementing your digital health strategy in the health sector, watch a recording of our webinar here.
The BMA is advising all NHS / HSCNI consultants to ensure extra-contractual work is paid at the BMA minimum recommended rate and to decline offers of extra-contractual work that doesn't value them appropriately.
NHS England has published (October 2022) new guidance - Assuring and supporting complex change: Statutory transactions, including mergers and acquisitions.
NHS England has issued an updated (publication 11 October 2022) suite of Complex Change guidance about how it will assure and support proposals for complex change that are reportable to it. New and (where it is still in force) existing Complex Change guidance are as follows.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
It is clear that the digital landscape, often termed cyberspace, is a man-made environment, in which human behaviour dominates and where technology both influences and aids our role in it — through the internet, telecoms and networked computer systems, which are often interdependent. The extent to which any organisation is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack depends on how well these elements are aligned.
In Mogane v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether it was fair to dismiss a nurse as redundant on the basis that that her fixed-term contract was due to expire before that of her colleague.
Three months on from the commencement of the new statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICS) Anja Beriro and Gerrard Hanratty reflect on the main themes and issues that have come from the new relationship between local government and health.
The majority of people do not feel the need to embellish their CV to get that coveted position and move on up the career ladder. Their worthiness and benefit to the hiring organisation are easily demonstrated through the recruitment process – application, psychometric testing, selection day or interview.
On Saturday 15 October a wave of light swept the internet when thousands of people flooded social media with pictures of candles to remember the babies that they have lost. This event signifies the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week which aims to break the silence that is associated with baby loss in pregnancy and infancy.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 allowed any registered medical practitioner to sign a medical certificate of cause of death (“MCCD”), even if the deceased was not attended to during his or her last illness and not seen after death, provided that the medical practitioner could state the cause of death to the best of their knowledge and belief.
In our latest Shared Insights session, Focus on Emergency Medicine, chaired by Jennifer Fagin and Amelia Newbold, we were pleased to be joined by: Dr Alex Crowe, Deputy Director Incentive Schemes & Academic Partnerships, NHS Resolution and Consultant Nephrologist and Miss Susie Hewitt MBE, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.
Browne Jacobson has been ranked as a Top Tier law firm in 25 key practice areas in Legal 500 UK 2023, the independent directory of comparative law firm performance. The firm also continues to underpin its status as one of the leading law firms in the East Midlands region with 16 Tier 1 rankings.
On 7 July this year, NHS England published its statutory guidance for Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and with it set out the ICBs’ role and responsibilities and how they should collaborate, interact and carry out their anti-fraud, bribery and corruption functions in concert with NHS England.
The Chancellor’s recent mini-budget provided a significant announcement for business as it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 will be scrapped from April 2023.
This case provides a reminder to contracting authorities that whilst the bar for an award of damages in procurement cases is high, following the Supreme Court ruling in Energy Solutions EU Ltd v Nuclear Decommissioning Authority  1 WLR 1373, it is not insurmountable when a contracting authority has acted with disregard to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCRs). There is also further guidance as to the use of frameworks
Welcome to our August edition of Public Matters, our monthly round-up of legal updates, news and insights for the public sector.