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Delay mandatory COVID vaccinations until spring, urges NHS leader

Mandatory staff vaccinations should be postponed until April says NHS Providers chief Chris Hopson, as he warns of difficult winter and staffing crisis

Mandatory staff vaccinations should be postponed until April says NHS Providers chief Chris Hopson, as he warns of difficult winter and staffing crisis

Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health service staff should be delayed until spring to enable the health service to get through the busy winter period, an NHS leader has urged.

Mandatory vaccine delay would enable NHS to survive difficult winter

Ministers have been considering whether or not to introduce mandatory jabs for all NHS staff in England.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said last week he is ‘leaning towards’ making the jabs compulsory as there are about 100,000 NHS workers not fully vaccinated.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said

Mandatory staff vaccinations should be postponed until April says NHS Providers chief Chris Hopson, as he warns of difficult winter and staffing crisis

Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all NHS staff should be delayed until spring to enable the health service to get through the busy winter period, an NHS leader has urged
Picture: Alamy

Mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health service staff should be delayed until spring to enable the health service to get through the busy winter period, an NHS leader has urged.

Mandatory vaccine delay would enable NHS to survive difficult winter

Ministers have been considering whether or not to introduce mandatory jabs for all NHS staff in England.

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said last week he is ‘leaning towards’ making the jabs compulsory as there are about 100,000 NHS workers not fully vaccinated.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said that if the government was to press ahead, it should delay until April to ensure the NHS can get through the ‘difficult winter’.

Plans for mandatory jabs for staff who work or volunteer in care homes in England were announced in June, with an 11 November deadline for staff to have had both doses of vaccine, unless medically exempt.

Loss of vaccine-hesitant staff may compromise patient safety

Mr Hopson cited cases in Cornwall where NHS staff have been drafted in to help the social care sector.

‘If we lose large numbers of unvaccinated staff, particularly over the winter period, then that also constitutes a risk to patient safety and quality of care,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘We know that we’ve got a very, very difficult winter coming up and we know the NHS is going to be absolutely at full stretch.

‘So it makes sense to set the deadline once that winter period has passed. We know that January, February and often early March is very busy, so that’s why we’re saying that an April 2022 deadline is a sensible time.’

Two staff groups that appear to have lower uptake rates are women who are considering having children soon and NHS workers from black communities, he added.

Delay would allow more time to encourage staff to choose vaccination

He said that trust leaders have been having ‘supportive, encouraging’ conversations with vaccine-hesitant staff to drive up vaccine take-up, and warned against a ‘too quick deadline’ so those conversations could continue.

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

The consultation on mandatory vaccines for health workers closed on 22 October.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it would set out its response in ‘due course’.


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