Mandatory Covid punctures AXED for NHS and care staff at ’11 hour’ government u-turn


Mandatory Covid injections for the NHS and care staff will be removed, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed.

The rule was set to apply from April, which meant that if staff hadn’t received their first dose by February 3, they wouldn’t get the double shot on time.

The ’11 hour’ U-turn comes amid fears that the need for health workers to take a flat tire or potentially face redundancy would have led to a ‘major staffing crisis’.

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Previously, frontline workers in the sector had been told they needed to have two Covid-19 vaccinations by April.

However, on Monday 31 January, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that he believed it was “no longer proportionate” to require vaccination as a condition of deployment by law.

He said it is right to review the policy, given that the Delta variant, dominant at the time the policy was announced in November, has now been replaced by the less severe Omicron.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons that he believes it is “no longer proportionate” to require vaccination as a condition of deployment by law.

This, combined with increased population protection from vaccines, means that “it is not only right but responsible to revisit the balance of risks and opportunities that guided our original decision last year,” he said.

But the news reportedly caused “frustration” among NHS health leaders as their teams scrambled to meet the deadline in a bid to save their jobs.

Announcing a consultation, he told the House of Commons: “Subject to the answers and the will of this house, the Government will repeal the regulations.

“It has always been clear to me that our rules must remain proportionate and balanced and of course if we see another dramatic change in the virus it would only be responsible to review this policy again.”

Ministers have faced pressure to delay a requirement for staff in England to be double tapped to April, amid fears it could lead to a major staffing crisis.

Mr. Javid previously said that everyone working in health and social care had a professional duty to be vaccinated against covid-19.

He asked the NHS to review its policies on the recruitment of new staff and the deployment of current staff, taking into account their vaccination status.

Javid previously said that everyone who works in health and social care has a professional duty to be vaccinated against covid-19.

NHS Confederation and NHS Providers chief executives Matthew Taylor and Chris Hopson said NHS leaders are now “frustrated” by the last-minute policy change as they and their teams rushed to meet the deadline. February 3 for the first doses.

In a joint statement they said: “They acknowledge the reasons the Government has given for the changes, the risk to the services and the different risk of Omicron compared to previous variants.

“But there will be concern about what this means for broader messages about the importance of vaccination for the general population.”

The couple also said the U-turn will cause similar frustration for the nursing home sector “given the disruption in service delivery that resulted from the loss of staff last November.”

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The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) welcomed the government suspension, but warned it would come at an additional cost of loss of trust between midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs).

The RCM said that although it “always strongly advocated” for affiliates to take the covid vaccine, it opposed the government’s policy of making it mandatory.

Earlier this month, the RCM along with other health unions had called for a delay in the policy over fears of staff shortages.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) welcomed the government suspension, but warned it would come at an additional cost of loss of trust between midwives and maternity support workers.

Jon Skewes, Executive Director of External Relations at the RCM, said: “Mandatory COVID vaccination was always the wrong policy and it is disappointing that the Government has taken until the last moment to stop.

“While we welcome today’s decision to go back out for consultation, it will do nothing to undo further damage to trust in this Government among NHS staff, including midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs). ).

“I’m afraid some midwives, MSW and other staff have already left because of this policy. We need to see action to encourage their return to the NHS as quickly as possible.

“Now that this welcome decision has been made, we must focus on encouraging unvaccinated staff to receive the vaccine through support, discussion and engagement; the methods that we and others have advocated from the beginning.

“However, investing in maternity services must go beyond supporting existing staff to get the shot. We need to see the investment in real terms which has sadly been lacking for far too long. From pay to facilities, this investment It’s way behind.”

NHS staff unions had warned the government that compulsory vaccination was the wrong approach

Also in response to the announcement made today by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the U-turn was “unavoidable at the last minute” due to shortages. of staff within the NHS. .

He said: “NHS staff unions warned the government that compulsory vaccination was the wrong approach.

“This last minute U-turn was made inevitable by the NHS staffing crisis. Ministers should have listened to staff and unions sooner.

“The government must now do more to address staff shortages in the NHS, starting with a decent pay rise.

“The unions encourage all workers to get vaccinated and braced against the coronavirus. We urge all employers to ensure that their staff can take paid time off to get vaccinated.”

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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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