Sajid Javid, Health and Social care Secretary has voiced his concerns over NHS staff who are yet to be vaccinated or have refused vaccination saying, ‘If they haven’t got vaccinated by now then there is an issue about patient safety and that’s something the government will take very seriously’.
A final decision has not been made but a mandatory stance on NHS staff vaccination could put them in line with care workers for whom it is compulsory to be fully vaccinated by early November. Failure to comply with this could lead to job loss or redeployment.
Currently there are over 100,000 vacancies in the NHS, introducing a mandate for vaccination could see 106,000 more created if the staff refuse to comply.
Around 90% of eligible care workers have had their first jab with 84% being fully vaccinated.
Creating the mandate on vaccination has caused worry amongst healthcare professionals. Most agree that vaccinations against COVID when working with vulnerable people on the front line is the best option for both themselves and patients and keeps everyone as safe as possible.
Others are concerned that if staff refuse the vaccine, they could face losing staff just as they enter the notoriously busy winter period, something which the NHS cannot afford to do in its current climate.
Around 100,000 people in the NHS are unvaccinated, varying from administration staff to doctors and nurses. If the decision is made to make it compulsory for NHS staff to be fully vaccinated it is hoped that most people will come forward and be vaccinated, similar to care workers.
Sajid Javid has not put a timeframe on when or if this will happen however, he stated that ‘it wouldn’t be months and months’ implying it could be by the end of the year.