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Warnings of ‘catastrophe’ as 80,000 unvaccinated NHS workers face dismissal

More than 80,000 unvaccinated “patient-facing” staff —about 6% of the NHS’s workforce — face dismissal at the end of March if not vaccinated by 3 February, reports Daily Mail. The colleges of midwives and nurses, as well as health unions, have warned of “catastrophe” and “dire consequences” if government estimates of an exodus of 73,000 frontline NHS employees prove to be accurate.

All unvaccinated frontline workers will attend formal meetings from 4 February and given a warning that they face being sacked. According to NHS England guidance, notices will then be issued from that day, with March 31 marking the end of the notice period.

All frontline staff must have had both doses of the COVID jab by 1 April, meaning that by 3 February, the first must have been given. Managers have been told they can move unvaccinated medics from the frontline into roles not involving direct patient contact. Bosses won’t have to help staff find “suitable alternative employment” and redundancy payments will not be made to those who are dismissed.

Those who have been vaccinated will be asked for their COVID pass to prove their status or alternatively their exemption evidence.

However, unions have warned that if the “no jab, no job” policy goes ahead in April, it will have a “catastrophic impact” on the health service. A similar rule was imposed on the social care sector in November.

In some trusts, as many as 12% of staff have not been vaccinated, meaning those hospitals could lose more than one in 10 workers if they do not vaccinate in the coming weeks.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have also warned of dire consequences on services.

“Since the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine the RCM has been urging its eligible midwife and maternity support worker members to have the jab to protect themselves, their families and the women and families they care for,” said Gill Walton, Royal College of Midwives, reports Personnel Today.

“However, we do not believe mandatory vaccination is the correct approach. I appeal to the health secretary to reconsider his decision and to delay the implementation.

“Throughout the pandemic, maternity staff have fought to keep services open and to provide the best care to women and families. It has been unrelenting and so itʼs no surprise that staff absence is currently at its highest in the pandemic so far. Mandatory vaccination will only see staffing levels fall further.

“The government has opened a Pandora’s box of unforeseen consequences – but there is an opportunity now to close it. We are urging Health Minister Sajid Javid to do just that.”

The same “no jab, no job” policy was initiated in the social care sector in November, with estimates suggesting 60,000 workers were still to be vaccinated at that point.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) called for the policy to be “delayed with immediate effect” as the NHS “cannot afford to lose experienced and skilled staff”.

But Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said vaccines are “the best protection against the virus” and the “overwhelming majority” of medics have already been double-jabbed.

There were already concerns about health worker shortages before the pandemic struck, with the NHS short of about 100,000 staff.

Meanwhile, some 40,000 workers were isolating for COVID-related reasons on 9 January, with the rising level of absences forcing hospitals to declare staffing emergencies this past month.

 

Daily Mail article – More than 80,000 unvaccinated NHS workers face the sack unless they have a Covid jab in TWO WEEKS time despite warnings rules could have 'catastrophic' impact on health service (Open access)

 

Personnel Today article – Nurses and midwives warn of ‘catastrophic impact’ of vaccine mandate (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

High vaccine hesitancy in NHS London and UK home care staff
Double vaccination cuts breakthrough infection risk substantially — King’s College London

 

From Sydney to Vienna: Restricting the unvaccinated underclas

 

Prevalence of the double-jabbed in England’s first Omicron cases — UKHSA

 

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