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Compulsory COVID jab could be devastating for staffing, says BMA

British Medical Association council chair Chaand Nagpaul says losing even small numbers of healthcare workers would be critical to an already under pressure NHS

British Medical Association council chair Chaand Nagpaul says losing even small numbers of healthcare workers would be critical to an already under pressure NHS

Any reduction of NHS staff due to vaccination requirements would be a ‘devastating’ blow, doctors have said as the government considers mandatory COVID-19 jabs for healthcare staff.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the threat of staff losing their jobs if they do not get a COVID-19 vaccine is ‘of grave concern’.

Health secretary considering compulsory vaccinations for NHS staff

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday that he is ‘leaning towards’ making COVID-19 jabs compulsory for staff in England, with

British Medical Association council chair Chaand Nagpaul says losing even small numbers of healthcare workers would be critical to an already under pressure NHS

The British Medical Association said the threat of staff losing their jobs if they do not get a COVID-19 vaccine is ‘of grave concern’
Picture: iStock

Any reduction of NHS staff due to vaccination requirements would be a ‘devastating’ blow, doctors have said as the government considers mandatory COVID-19 jabs for healthcare staff.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the threat of staff losing their jobs if they do not get a COVID-19 vaccine is ‘of grave concern’.

Health secretary considering compulsory vaccinations for NHS staff

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said on Monday that he is ‘leaning towards’ making COVID-19 jabs compulsory for staff in England, with an estimated 100,000 NHS staff not fully vaccinated.

Mr Javid insisted he had not yet made a final decision, but the move would mean the situation for NHS staff in England is broadly in line with the requirement for care home workers.

The BMA said there was an important distinction between believing every healthcare worker should be vaccinated and advocating for mandatory vaccinations, calling for the government to consider the legal, ethical and practical implications of mandating vaccines.

Health service already under pressure, warns BMA council chair

‘One of our main concerns is the impact this decision may have on the workforce,’ BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said.

Dr Nagpaul added that even if a small number of staff were forced out of work because they had not been vaccinated, it would have a big effect as the health service is already under immense pressure.

‘With severe workforce shortages afflicting the NHS, and 93,000 unfilled vacancies, any reduction in healthcare workers could be devastating for patient services as we face a record backlog of care and winter pressures,’ he said.

Exploring alternatives for those staff who are not vaccinated

From November 11, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless exempt.

The consultation on mandatory vaccines for health workers closed on 22 October and the Department of Health and Social Care has said it is considering feedback.

Unions, including the RCN, have warned that the policy could alienate staff and exacerbate workforce shortages.

The BMA has called for the government to explore alternative options for those who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons or may refuse, including remote working, redeployment, greater personal protective equipment and more regular testing.


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