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Risk Reduction Framework published for NHS staff at risk of COVID-19 infection

An expert working group including the Faculty of Occupational Medicine has developed a Risk Reduction Framework to help NHS organisations to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection for the most at-risk staff.


The Framework document recommends redeployment of staff deemed to be at highest risk of adverse outcomes if infected with the virus into lower risk environments.


The factors to be considered are age, sex, ethnicity, whether the employee has underlying health conditions and pregnancy. Early guidance identified age and underlying health conditions as key vulnerabilities. The data has subsequently revealed sex, ethnicity – specifically a BAME background – and pregnancy to be further factors in establishing the level of vulnerability of an individual.


The authors of the Framework recommend the risk assessment is completed by a line manager, supervisor, designated senior manager or health and safety representative and it may involve managers seeking health information from staff beyond that normally required for the terms of their employment. Subject to caution about sensitivity and confidentiality, this level of enquiry is deemed to be not unreasonable.


For the acute sector, reducing risk in the workplace for NHS staff may require redeployment across the wider health system.


Dr Anne de Bono, President of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine says the Risk Reduction Framework is a consensus document that aims to better protect the workforce and maximise the ability of the NHS to deal with current pressures. It is a fluid document that will be reviewed and updated in light of any new evidence.


The full Risk Reduction Framework document is available here, including guidance of how to use it.