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Strategic planning and response to COVID-19 in a London emergency department
  1. Kerrie Whitwell1,
  2. Rachel Maynard1,
  3. Natalia Barry1,
  4. Victoria Cowling1,
  5. Tara Sood2
  1. 1 Emergency Department, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Emergency Department, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kerrie Whitwell, Emergency Department, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London NW3 2QG, UK; kerrie.whitwell{at}


For many of us in emergency medicine, rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis will be the single most exciting and challenging episode of our careers. Lessons have been learnt on how to make quick and effective changes without being hindered by the normal restraints of bureaucracy. Changes that would normally have taken months to years to implement have been successfully introduced over a period of several weeks. Although we have managed these changes largely by command and control, compassionate leadership has identified leaders within our team and paved the way for the future. This article covers the preparation and changes made in response to COVID-19 in a London teaching hospital.

  • emergency department
  • emergency care systems, emergency departments
  • disaster planning and response
  • effectiveness
  • emergency department operations

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  • Handling editor Mary Dawood

  • Contributors KW and TS planned the article, wrote and edited the article and contributed to the planning and changes described in the article. NB, RM and VC contributed to writing the article and contributed to planning and delivery of the processes described in the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.