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‘Reinstate unvaccinated staff sacked thanks to jabs mandate’

Nursing staff penalised by COVID-19 vaccine mandate should get compensation and their jobs back – without tribunals, says union Unite
Nurses' scrubs piled in protest against compulsory COVID vaccination of staff, outside Downing Street

Nursing staff penalised by government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate before ministers announced plan to scrap it should get compensation and jobs back, says Unite

Nurses and healthcare unions have branded the government change of heart on mandatory vaccines ‘too late’ for staff who lost their jobs thanks to a ‘bungled policy’.

Yesterday health and social care secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the government’s plan to halt the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all front-line NHS and social care staff in England, saying ministers will now consult on the issue.

Unions and nurses called for sacked staff to be reinstated and compensated. Until

Nursing staff penalised by government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate before ministers announced plan to scrap it should get compensation and jobs back, says Unite

Nurses' scrubs piled in protest against compulsory COVID vaccination of staff, outside Downing Street
Nurses were among healthcare staff who protested against compulsory COVID vaccination of the workforce by placing uniforms at the entrance to Downing Street. Picture: Alamy

Nurses and healthcare unions have branded the government change of heart on mandatory vaccines ‘too late’ for staff who lost their jobs thanks to a ‘bungled policy’.

Yesterday health and social care secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the government’s plan to halt the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all front-line NHS and social care staff in England, saying ministers will now consult on the issue.

Unions and nurses called for sacked staff to be reinstated and compensated. Until yesterday, all patient-facing NHS nurses were being told they would need to have had at least two vaccine doses by 1 April. Staff in social care had been subject to the policy since November 2021.

Mandatory jabs will remain the law for social care staff until the results of the consultation are known, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed.

Ministers’ change of heart too late for many social care staff

RCN director of England Patricia Marquis said: ‘This has come too late for those social care staff who have already lost their jobs. To risk thousands more nursing staff being sacked in the middle of a staffing crisis was never in the interests of patients’ safety.’

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘We demand any worker who has lost their job, as a result of this bungled policy, gets their job back and receives compensation without recourse to an employment tribunal.’

Vaccine mandate for nurses ‘so unfair’

Nurses on Nursing Standard’s Facebook voiced their relief at the rule reversal, but added the eleventh-hour decision had caused them stress.

One wrote: ‘I’ve had my jabs but I’m glad this happened – the NHS would collapse. It’s already horrible most days. I hope all who lost their jobs in November in the nursing home sector can get compensation, so unfair for them.’

Another wrote: ‘Disgraceful that it’s happened at the last minute when colleagues have been through stress of either coercively having the jab or faced job uncertainty.’

‘Still nurses’ duty to be vaccinated’

Mr Javid told MPs that the policy was ‘no longer proportionate’ as he claimed the more severe Delta strain of COVID-19 has been replaced by the more infectious but less severe Omicron. But he reiterated previous comments that it was the ‘professional duty’ of NHS staff to have the vaccine.

There were 16,623 people in UK hospitals with COVID-19 on 25 January, compared to 7,759 on 14 December 2021, the day the mandatory jabs policy approved by parliament.


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