‘Forcing Covid vaccinations on defiant NHS staff is unfair and dangerous’ – Paul Routledge

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The risk of losing 10% of NHS staff in England is a crazy risk to take, especially when there are workable compromises such as daily lateral flow tests, says Paul Routledge

A woman receives a Covid jab in London
A woman receives a Covid jab in London

Get jabbing soon, or there’s no job.

That’s the harsh deadline looming for tens of thousands of NHS workers. Failure to get the first vax by next Thursday will trigger disciplinary action leading to dismissal.

An estimated 80,000 health workers in England haven’t had the first dose, and 52,000 might not have a medical exemption.

Some hospital bosses fear they could lose 10% of their staff under the “jab for job” rule. The problem does not arise in Scotland or Wales, where vaccination is not mandatory, nor Northern Ireland where it only applies to new recruits.

The pandemic may be waning, but it’s not over, and there are six million people on NHS waiting lists for treatment.

This is no time to be kicking dedicated workers out of the door.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is playing hardball with NHS staff
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Image:

GettyImages)

Warning letters have already gone out to 6,500 staff working for one Leeds hospital trust alone.

Some NHS workers might feel uncomfortable working alongside unvaccinated staff. But surely there’s a case for daily lateral flow testing, or moving them to alternative non-facing roles, or one-to-one counselling.

But not the sack, with no redundancy, no appeal against dismissal, no testimonial and being blacklisted in health and care services.

Our freedom from rules since Plan B was scrapped in a bid to save Boris Johnson’s premiership sits ill with prohibition in the NHS.

Anyone can serve the public face-to-face in a pub, a shop or office without a vaccination. This disparity is unacceptable. Labor and Tory MPs ask for the vax-sack rule to be suspended and hospital consultants have “serious misgivings”, but Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to coercion.

Attending hospital as an outpatient this week, I didn’t check on staff vax status. I trust them to be doing their best.

There has to be given and take in our new life with this disease, something the politicians and NHS bosses should take to heart.

Boris Johnson has scrapped Covid restrictions
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UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Image)

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Driverless cars will not have drivers, but “users in charge” under proposals from the Law Commission.

The person in the driving seat will not be responsible for crashing the car. That will be the liability of the manufacturer, or the software supplier. Clear? No, me neither.

I’m not a motorist, but judging from the huge number of accidents in the UK every year, the driverless era has been with us for some time.

Legal confusion arising from yet more computerization suggests that the safest place for a car is in the garage.

If a tenth of the money being ploughed into Gizmocars was invested in public transport, we’d all be better off.

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Fake snow at next month’s Winter Olympics exposes the sham of the Beijing Games.

Many events are frankly ridiculous, invented for the well-off who can afford to prat about on skis.

Eventually, say scientists, there won’t be enough natural snow anywhere in the world to host winter games. That would be no great loss to humanity.

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Young people don’t know traditional English expressions like “spend a penny”.

Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs. They must be daft as a brush, or maybe they have the monk on.

Were they born in a barn? Put t’wood in t’ole. I couldn’t stop a pig in a ginnel. Give ’em a Scarborough warning.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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