News

NHS trust redeploys nurses who decline COVID-19 vaccine

RCN raises concerns over staff contracts at University Hospital Southampton trust

RCN raises concerns over staff confidentiality and contracts at University Hospital Southampton trust

Nurses who declined to have the COVID-19 vaccine have been redeployed away from roles involving direct patient care at an NHS trust.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said a ‘small number’ of its staff who had declined the vaccine were being moved temporarily to roles where they won’t come into close contact with patients.

RCN urges members to contact union to discuss options

The RCN said nurses were among those who had been redeployed and it had written to the trust expressing its concerns over potential breaches of contract and individuals’ rights

RCN raises concerns over staff confidentiality and contracts at University Hospital Southampton trust

University Hospital Southampton said a small number of staff who declined the COVID-19 vaccine have been temporarily moved from direct patient care roles
University Hospital Southampton has redeployed a small number of staff to non-patient-facing roles Picture: Alamy

Nurses who declined to have the COVID-19 vaccine have been redeployed away from roles involving direct patient care at an NHS trust.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said a ‘small number’ of its staff who had declined the vaccine were being moved temporarily to roles where they won’t come into close contact with patients.

RCN urges members to contact union to discuss options

The RCN said nurses were among those who had been redeployed and it had written to the trust expressing its concerns over potential breaches of contract and individuals’ rights to confidentiality.

The decision by the trust follows guidance issued by NHS England in March stating employers can consider moving staff who have declined the vaccine to a ‘less exposure-prone setting’.

RCN regional officer for south Hampshire Debbie Schilder urged affected members to contact the union to discuss their options. ‘We have written to the trust to express our concerns, which include breach of contract, breach of individuals' right to confidentiality, and possible disability discrimination for those who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons,’ she said.

‘There simply aren’t large numbers of nurses able to fill the gaps that these redeployed staff will leave and there is the potential for workforce planning to become really difficult for the trust,’ she added.

‘Having the vaccine doesn’t stop you catching or transmitting COVID-19, so appropriate PPE is still absolutely vital for all members of staff, regardless of vaccination status, who are working with COVID patients.’

Trust says redeployment part of wider infection prevention strategy

The trust said that more than 94% of staff have been vaccinated since December last year and the decision was part of a wider infection prevention strategy and its commitment to protect staff, patients and service delivery.

Staff have been offered advice and guidance about the vaccine, the trust said, and affected individuals’ permanent jobs and pay will be protected while they are redeployed.

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched a consultation on whether to introduce mandatory COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations for staff across the NHS and social care.

The RCN encourages nursing staff to take up the COVID-19 vaccine, unless they are excluded for health reasons, but does not support mandatory vaccination.


Find out more

gov.uk: Making Vaccination a Condition of Deployment in the Health and Wider Social Care Sector


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs