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Mandatory COVID-19 jabs for all nurses will be scrapped this month

Government confirmation follows consultation in which most respondents said vaccination requirement should be revoked, citing effect on staff shortages that could harm patient care

Government confirmation follows consultation in which most respondents said vaccination requirement should be revoked, citing effect on staff shortages that could harm patient care

The government has confirmed it will scrap mandatory vaccination for front-line health and social care staff in England after thousands called for the policy to be overturned.

More than 90,000 people and organisations responded to an online consultation on plans to end vaccination as a condition of employment in health and social care settings.

Following the consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that

Government confirmation follows consultation in which most respondents said vaccination requirement should be revoked, citing effect on staff shortages that could harm patient care

Picture: iStock

The government has confirmed it will scrap mandatory vaccination for front-line health and social care staff in England after thousands called for the policy to be overturned.

More than 90,000 people and organisations responded to an online consultation on plans to end vaccination as a condition of employment in health and social care settings.

Following the consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that the legal mandate for vaccination will end on 15 March.

Strong support for ending vaccination requirement

The majority of respondents – 90% – said they wanted mandatory vaccination to be revoked, with just 9% saying they were opposed to the plan.

Most of the health and social care professionals who took part (84%) said they wanted the requirement for front-line staff to be vaccinated to be overturned.

Preventing staffing shortages that could harm patient care, and stopping staff who chose to remain unvaccinated from losing their jobs, were among the top reasons people gave for wanting to scrap the policy.

However, nearly a third (33%) of health and social care managers, and 22% of health and social care organisations, were in favour of keeping mandatory vaccination.

Consultation response follows government U-turn on vaccination

Vaccination had been made a condition of employment in all health and social care settings as part of government efforts to protect the most vulnerable and curb the spread of the virus.

But in a policy U-turn on 31 January, the government announced its intention to remove the requirement for health and social care workers to have both doses of the jab. Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said at the time the policy was ‘right’ when the Delta was the dominant variant in the UK, but was no longer proportionate as Omicron is a milder variant.

The move followed pressure from NHS staff and unions who warned that making vaccination compulsory would compound the current staffing crisis.

Revoking of vaccination requirement has saved nursing jobs, RCN says

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said ending the vaccination requirement was the ‘right decision’.

‘Holding the threat of losing their jobs over the heads of the small minority of staff who had not been vaccinated was the wrong approach, and this decision will be welcomed by those whose jobs were at risk,’ she added.

Government reiterates ‘professional responsibility’ to receive vaccine

According to the government’s own impact report, the mandatory vaccination policy could have seen up to 73,000 members of staff redeployed or sacked in April – the deadline NHS staff had faced to receive both doses of vaccine.

In its response to the consultation findings, the government reiterated previous comments that health and social care staff have a ‘professional responsibility’ to be vaccinated.


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