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Not Applicable
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
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Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS staff moved to different roles and units (redeployed) in large numbers to meet changing demands of the service. At times, this has meant that staff were working in unfamiliar environments doing unfamiliar tasks. With regard to nurses (the largest proportion of the workforce), some have been asked to work in more risky settings, while others have been pulled off patient-facing duties because they are in an 'at-risk' group. Rapid guidance was published by NHS England/Improvement on how to manage the redeployment of staff who were likely to be working outside their 'comfort zone' and how to do this while ensuring safe practice. This advice included having appropriate supervision and considering health and wellbeing. However, when planning how best to redeploy and support staff during this crisis (at national, organisational and ward level) there has been very little research evidence for senior staff to draw on. Moreover, there is no existing research on the long-term impact of different kinds of redeployment on staff outcomes: wellbeing, performance and retention. This is vital because nursing shortages are already a serious problem in the UK and so we need to know how best to support staff so that they are able to provide safe, effective and compassionate care. This programme of research addresses these gaps in knowledge. Two different work packages are planned which, together, will provide a much better understanding of how to plan for and manage redeployment of nurses and how to support them during, and in the aftermath of, a period of redeployment. This knowledge will be useful for routine service delivery, where creating a more flexible NHS workforce is now a national priority and so redeployment may become more common, as well as for planning more specifically in a pandemic or other crisis situation.
In work package 1 the aim is to examine how decisions were made in the redeployment of nursing staff, based on an ethical framework and the barriers and enablers to doing this. In work package 2 the aim is to understand how nurses made sense of redeployment and how this affected their longer-term job performance and well-being. The researchers will work with key stakeholders (e.g. Royal College of Nursing, NHS England/NHS Improvement, NHS Employers) to share learning to inform future planning of redeployment strategies for nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Who can participate?
Work package 1: senior staff such as senior nurses and HR managers who were responsible for decision making about how, where and when staff were redeployed
Work package 2: nurses involved in different forms of redeployment

What does the study involve?
The study will involve working with three NHS Trusts to identify staff to take part in interviews, focus groups and surveys across both work packages. In the first work package the researchers will interview up to 11 senior staff and run one focus group involving five senior nurses in each of the three sites. In the second work package the researchers will conduct interviews and short surveys at three timepoints with up to 15 nurses from each site.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
There are no known risks or benefits to participants but during data gathering some nurses may become upset when recollecting negative experiences of redeployment. Some may also benefit from taking part through having the opportunity to tell their story confidentially and reflect on the positive experience, for example, where new relationships have formed and new skills and knowledge gained.

Where is the study run from?
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
October 2020 to March 2022

Who is funding the study?
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Prof. Rebecca Lawton

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Rebecca Lawton


Contact details

University of Leeds
United Kingdom
+44 (0)113 3435715



Additional contact

Dr Jenni Murray


Contact details

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1274 383667

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

Nil known number

Nil known

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Lessons from the frontline: the impact of redeployment during COVID-19 on nurse wellbeing, performance and retention - a multicentre observational study



Study hypothesis

Delivering safe and effective healthcare requires sufficient staff numbers with the right mix of skills. Thus the rapid redeployment of nursing staff has been critical to the NHS response to COVID-19. The NIHR have recognised the significance of these changes and the challenges of rapidly reallocating staff without evidence on how best to do this or what the longer term consequences are. This study directly addresses this evidence gap.

Ethics approval

Submission pending, University of Leeds Business School Ethics Committee

Study design

Multicentre observational study involving three NHS Trust sites using both qualitative cross-sectional (first work package) and longitudinal (second work package) interviewing and survey methods

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Cross-sectional (first work package) and longitudinal (second work package) study

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a participant information sheet


Nurse wellbeing, performance and retention


This observational study will involve two work packages. The first will employ cross-sectional semi-structured interviews and focus groups with staff between November 2020 and July 2021. The second work package will use a longitudinal approach conducting semi-structured interviews and surveys with staff affected by redeployment over three timepoints between December 2020 and January 2022.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Management of redeployment (as a main qualitative theme) assessed using interviews and focus groups between November 2020 and July 2021

Secondary outcome measures

1. Nurse wellbeing assessed using interviews and surveys between December 2020 and January 2022
2. Job outcomes for nurses assessed using interviews and surveys between December 2020 and January 2022

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Work package 1:
Senior nurses (e.g. matrons, Heads of Nursing, Directors of Nursing) and senior HR Managers with experience of managing redeployment during COVID-19.

Work package 2:
Nurses who were redeployed to high-risk environments (e.g. ICU, respiratory wards; nurses already working in high-risk environments who acquired redeployed staff and; nurse redeployed to lower risk environments (i.e. non-patient-facing for health reasons).

Participant type

Health professional

Age group




Target number of participants

For work package 1: Up to 48 staff members. For work package 2: Up to 45 nurses

Participant exclusion criteria

Does not meet inclusion criteria

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sponsor details

Duckworth Lane
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1274 38 2575

Sponsor type

Hospital/treatment centre



Funder type


Funder name

National Institute for Health Research

Alternative name(s)


Funding Body Type

government organisation

Funding Body Subtype

National government


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The researchers intend to disseminate their findings through a number of means. They anticipate publishing their academic findings from the two work packages in relevant high-impact peer-reviewed journals as well as an accessible short report for Nursing Times, specifically targeting their key audience. They will also hold a stakeholder engagement workshop towards the end of the study period and produce a handbook outlining guidelines for managing redeployment going forward.

IPD sharing statement
The data-sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date.

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

To be made available at a later date

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

29/09/2020: Trial's existence confirmed by the NIHR.