All frontline NHS staff in England WILL need to be fully vaccinated against Covid by next spring 

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    All frontline NHS staff in England WILL need to be fully vaccinated against Covid by next spring 

    Government’s deadline for ALL NHS frontline staff to be double vaccinated by Spring could see up to 100,000 staff booted out by April – as unions warn ‘no jab, no job’ policy will worsen ‘crushing staffing crisis’ of 100k vacancies

    • All frontline NHS England workers must get both Covid jabs by next spring, the Government is to announce
    • As well as medics, no jab, no job policy will also apply to cleaners, porters and receptionists on hospital wards
    • Figures suggest around 110,000 staff still haven’t had their first jab but it’s not clear how are deemed frontline

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    The NHS faces an exodus of up to 100,000 unvaccinated workers in the Spring as the Government prepares to announce compulsory Covid jabs for all frontline staff in England.

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to unveil the controversial ‘no jab, no job’ policy in the Commons at 2.30pm today, despite furious backlash from unions.  

    All frontline workers — including medics as well as cleaners, porters and receptionists — will be required to have both Covid jabs by April or lose their job.

    Figures suggest around 110,000 NHS England staff — eight per cent of the entire workforce — still haven’t had their first jab but it’s not clear exactly how many are deemed ‘frontline’.

    NHS England already has around 100,000 vacancies, including a shortfall of 10,000 doctors and 35,000 nurses. The GMB union warned the ‘heavy-handed’ policy will only worsen the ‘crushing’ staffing crisis.

    Ministers have been weighing up the plans for months after launching a consultation earlier in the year, but some trusts preempted the Government’s announcement when the direction of travel became clear. Officials at Southampton General Hospital ordered frontline workers in September to get vaccinated or face the sack. 

    Nationally, only the Covid vaccine will be compulsory with the flu jab strongly recommended but not required for staff on hospital wards, the BBC reports. The move will bring the NHS in line with care homes, where employees have until Thursday to get their second Covid jab or face the sack. 

    Ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt backed the policy last night after an investigation found 11,000 patients have died in NHS hospitals after catching the virus on a ward while getting treated for another condition.

    But critics have blasted the ‘heavy-handed’ plans, warning they are neither ‘necessary nor proportionate’ given that more than 90 per cent of health workers have already been double-jabbed. 

    Overally, more than 92 per cent of frontline staff have had their first dose and 89 per cent are fully vaccinated, according to the most recent estimates. This is significantly higher than the 80 per cent uptake rate in the adult population. 

    Defending the Government’s stance this morning, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said vulnerable people being treated in hospitals and care homes deserved to be ‘properly protected’.   

    Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)

    Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)

    The above map shows the 20 hospital trusts with the lowest proportion of staff fully jabbed in England. The data is up to September 30, the latest available

    The above map shows the 20 hospital trusts with the lowest proportion of staff fully jabbed in England. The data is up to September 30, the latest available

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches as nurse Sandra Guy gives a Covid-19 booster jab to an NHS facilities worker during a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland yesterday

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson watches as nurse Sandra Guy gives a Covid-19 booster jab to an NHS facilities worker during a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland yesterday

    NHS staff can be exempt from the double-vaccine requirement if they have a medical reason, such as an allergy to an ingredient in the vaccine or previously experienced a serious side-effect.

    No similar proposals have been announced for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which set their own policy on whether Covid vaccination is required.

    Sara Gorton, head of the union Unison, slammed the policy. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme ministers were running a ‘real risk’ and that it could have ‘really, really difficult consequences for the NHS’.

    She said: ‘This isn’t about saying that it’s wrong, the vaccination programme is wrong, it’s saying that it is wrong to leap to the law, rather than stick with persuasion, conversation, peer group support to try and increase those rates beyond what is, let’s face it, a really, really high existing level of vaccination amongst NHS staff.’

    Making Covid vaccines compulsory ISN’T best method of improving uptake, data shows 

    ONS data showed wanting to protect yourself and others from Covid was the biggest motivator to get jabbed among un-vaccinated Britons

    ONS data showed wanting to protect yourself and others from Covid was the biggest motivator to get jabbed among un-vaccinated Britons

    Compulsory Covid vaccines are not the best way to boost jab uptake, a survey revealed today. 

    An Office for National Statistics survey of 4,000 people asked un-vaccinated Britons what could motivate them to get their shots.

    Respondents said protecting themselves and others from Covid was the most likely reason they would get the vaccine at a later date (19 per cent gave this answer).

    Helping restrictions ease and life to return to normal, and making it easier to go on holiday (16 per cent) was the second most likely motivator.

    But being told by an employer they needed the shots to keep working for them dropped to the third most likely motivator (13 per cent).

    It was at the same level as being offered a voucher was to get vaccinated (also 13 per cent). 

    Frontline NHS workers will be required to get two doses of the Covid vaccine to keep their jobs from spring, reports suggested today.

    Experts have warned this policy could ‘backfire’ by making vaccine resistant employees less likely to get the jab and health chiefs say it could spark a mass exodus of employees. 

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    The national officer at the GMB union, Rachel Harrison, also slammed the policy as ‘heavy-handed’ and warned it will send the already ‘crushing’ staffing crisis into a downward spiral.

    She said: ‘Bulldozing this vaccine will exacerbate the already crushing staffing crisis we face across the NHS and ambulance service.

    ‘Both are operating under extreme pressures, after a decade of austerity and cuts, with an exhausted and demoralised workforce who are fearful of what is to come as we head through winter.

    ‘Staff are already leaving their employment and this will certainly force many more to go, as we are currently witnessing in adult residential social care as a result of this legislative change to their employment.’

    A poll carried out by the union found only four in ten healthcare workers supported making jabs compulsory. 

    Professor Helen Bedford, a children’s health expert at Great Ormond Street Institute of child health, warned that making vaccines compulsory could ‘backfire’. 

    ‘When there is concern about less than optimal vaccine uptake rates, making vaccination mandatory can seem the obvious solution — but it can backfire. It may make people who are just unsure about vaccination more resistant. 

    ‘There is plenty of evidence showing that it is preferable to provide opportunities to discuss vaccine concerns openly and non-judgementally with people who have doubts and to ensure there are adequate opportunities to access vaccination.’ 

    Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers which represents hospital trusts, said making vaccines compulsory in the NHS may result in the health service losing ‘significant numbers of staff’.

    He said: ‘The problem for both social care and the NHS is we run these systems incredibly hot on very, very fine margins. Both of us have got around 90 to 100,000 vacancies.

    ‘We are completely reliant on our staff to… work extra shifts in order to do the work that needs to be done.

    ‘So losing significant numbers of staff, particularly given the pressure that both of the systems are under at the moment, is a real, real problem.

    ‘And that’s why we’re very clear with the Government they need to help us manage this risk.’

    But Mr Hopson added that the rule could help to boost uptake of the Covid vaccine, and encourage hospitals to open conversations with vaccine hesitant employees.

    He said: ‘If you look at other nations that have done this, there is no doubt that if you do it carefully, at the point when you announce the fact that you are going to have mandatory vaccinations in the sector, it does provide quite a useful opportunity to then have those kind of further conversations. 

    ‘So if we get it right, actually, it could be quite a useful spur in some senses to drive the take-up up, but the bit that we just need to be careful of, as I said, is avoiding scapegoating people.’ 

    The Department of Health has refused to comment on the timing of the announcement, which is expected to be made later today.

    But Mr Raab fought minister’s corner today saying the policy would offer society’s most vulnerable the protection that they deserved. 

    Care home staff to be forced out by Thursday if they aren’t double-jabbed

    Britain’s social care crisis deepened yesterday as it emerged that just 3,000 people replied to a major recruitment drive to tackle staff shortages.

    Hundreds of care homes say they may have to close and evict residents amid a potential shortage of 170,000 staff.

    The problem is being made much worse by the new rule insisting that everyone working in the sector must be double-jabbed by Thursday.

    Around 60,000 unvaccinated social care staff in England are losing their jobs this week.

    Among them is Louise Akester, 36, seen weeping in an online video after she was fired from Alderson House, an NHS care home in Hull.

    Concerned about potential long-term side effects from the vaccine, she said: ‘This choice should be my basic human right. I genuinely love my job with all my heart.’

    Even before the rule came in, homes were struggling to recruit enough staff and the sector is teetering on the verge of collapse as staff leave for better-paid jobs in supermarkets, retail or hospitality.

    It is feared that as many as 500 care homes may have to close in the coming weeks, leaving thousands of vulnerable people in urgent need of new places.

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    Although he refused to confirm reports that the jabs would be made compulsory for the NHS, he told Sky News that it was important to boost jab uptake by ‘any means necessary’.

    Mr Raab said: ‘I think it is critically important in those vulnerable settings, care homes and the NHS and particularly as we go through winter, that the vulnerable people there are properly protected.

    ‘I think we need to get by any means necessary the level of jabs up.’

    He added on ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘Ultimately we’ve got to make sure that the lives of those people in those vulnerable settings are safeguarded, and that’s a difficult choice, that’s one of the many difficult choices that we’ve got in Government.

    ‘But I think we’d be getting a lot of criticism if we weren’t taking those difficult decisions, and we were leaving people more and unnecessarily exposed than before.’

    Matt McDonald, an employment lawyer at London-based firm Shakespeare Martineau, warned the NHS could be hit with a wave of unfair dismissal cases.

    He warned: ‘Consultations with employees to discuss options and alternatives should take place before any dismissals.

    ‘However, alternatives could be difficult to find for NHS workers whose careers are based in the health service.

    ‘If this process is not carried out correctly, employers risk unfair dismissal claims from disgruntled unvaccinated ex-employees.’ 

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last month he was ‘leaning towards’ making Covid vaccines compulsory for people working in the NHS.

    But health leaders called on him to delay the plans until April to ensure that the health service could get through what is expected to be a very difficult winter.

    A source involved in the discussion said last week Mr Javid had been ‘genuinely split’ over the decision. 

    The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory

    The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory

    The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine

    The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine

     

     

    Louise Akester vaccine video

    Louise Akester vaccine video

    Louise Akester, 36, seen weeping in an online video after she was fired from Alderson House, an NHS care home in Hull. Concerned about potential long-term side effects from the jab, she said: ‘This choice should be my basic human right. I genuinely love my job with all my heart’

    Covid infections on wards kill 11,000 

    More than 11,000 patients have caught Covid and died in NHS hospitals while being treated for other illnesses.

    Freedom of Information data from NHS trusts in England revealed that 11,688 patients who died in hospital after testing positive for Covid probably caught the virus there. 

    This accounted for one in eight Covid deaths in hospital. 

    Figures from University Hospitals Birmingham show it recorded as many as 484 deaths of patients who were thought to have caught the virus on wards during the pandemic.

    But the hospital trust said it was one of the ‘largest’ in the country and had ‘treated over 18,000 Covid-19 patients… significantly more than any other hospital trust’.

    Meanwhile, at four acute NHS trusts, more than a quarter of patients who died with the virus had caught it while in hospital.

    And 34 trusts said that one in five patients who had died after a positive Covid test had become infected in their care.

    Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust saw 213 patients die after catching Covid on its wards, accounting for a third of all its Covid deaths.

    The Countess of Chester said Covid patients made up ‘more than 70 per cent of [its] general and acute beds at one point’ meaning it was ‘one of the most seriously affected trusts in the North of England’.

    Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative chairman of the health and social care select committee, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘These numbers are truly shocking… hospital infections have been the deadliest silent killer of the pandemic… It surely strengthens the case for mandatory vaccination for frontline healthcare staff.’ 

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    A consultation on making flu and Covid jabs a requirement of employment for NHS staff was concluded late last month, which ministers have considered before deciding on the policy.

    An announcement on the policy is expected today, although officials would not confirm the timing.

    Disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday called for Covid jabs to be made compulsory for nurses and doctors before winter.

    Mr Hancock — who lost his job after breaking his own Covid rules to kiss a former aide — said the policy should be in place ‘as fast as possible to save lives’. 

    Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he added: ‘There are some people who say this isn’t the way we do things in Britain.

    ‘But we already mandate vaccination against Hepatitis B for doctors. The British historic precedents for compulsory vaccination go back to the 1850s.’ 

    Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, Layla Moran MP, added: ‘It would be irresponsible to now implement a policy of mandatory Covid jabs given the unprecedented pressure facing the NHS heading into winter due to a lack of clear government policy.

    ‘Evidence heard by the APPG on Coronavirus made clear that to now introduce such requirements could further exacerbate staff shortages and risk pushing the NHS over the edge. 

    ‘This policy is a sign that government has given up on tackling the root cause of sluggish uptake, and risks having devastating unintended consequences.’

    It comes after Britain’s social care crisis deepened as it emerged that just 3,000 people replied to a major recruitment drive to tackle staff shortages.

    Hundreds of care homes say they may have to close and evict residents amid a potential shortage of 170,000 staff. 

    The problem is being made much worse by the new rule insisting that everyone working in the sector must be double-jabbed by Thursday.

    Around 60,000 unvaccinated social care staff in England are losing their jobs this week. 

    Among them is Louise Akester, 36, seen weeping in an online video after she was fired from Alderson House, an NHS care home in Hull.

    Concerned about potential long-term side effects from the vaccine, she said: ‘This choice should be my basic human right. I genuinely love my job with all my heart.’

    Even before the rule came in, homes were struggling to recruit enough staff and the sector is teetering on the verge of collapse as staff leave for better-paid jobs in supermarkets, retail or hospitality.

    It is feared that as many as 500 care homes may have to close in the coming weeks, leaving thousands of vulnerable people in urgent need of new places.  

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    Published at Tue, 09 Nov 2021 13:17:14 +0000

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