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Compulsory jabs: stark rules on redeployment or dismissal set out

NHS England sets out guidance for employers to redeploy or fire patient-facing nurses who are still unvaccinated by April deadline
Picture shows a nurse vaccinating another medic

NHS England sets out guidance for employers to redeploy or fire patient-facing nurses who are still unvaccinated by April deadline

NHS England has issued new guidance on the next steps to implement mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other staff.

All patient-facing staff who work in the NHS and private sector in England need to be double-jabbed by 1 April , under a law passed by parliament in December.

NHS leaders wrote to employers on Friday outlining the process of establishing the vaccination status of their staff and offering redeployment to those who do not want

NHS England sets out guidance for employers to redeploy or fire patient-facing nurses who are still unvaccinated by April deadline

Picture shows a nurse vaccinating another medic
Picture: Alamy

NHS England has issued new guidance on the next steps to implement mandatory vaccinations for nurses and other staff.

All patient-facing staff who work in the NHS and private sector in England need to be double-jabbed by 1 April, under a law passed by parliament in December.

NHS leaders wrote to employers on Friday outlining the process of establishing the vaccination status of their staff and offering redeployment to those who do not want to be jabbed. It also outlines how to legally dismiss staff who are unvaccinated by 1 April.

Latest figures from NHS England show more than 81,000 trust healthcare workers are yet to get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

We look at the key questions nurses might have if they are yet to have the vaccinations:

Can I take more time to decide?

NHS England says nurses who are unvaccinated should talk to their line manager, union or staff representative immediately about any concerns they have so they can access support.

Despite calls from the RCN and other unions, the Department of Health and Social Care remains firm on the timeline of all patient-facing NHS staff being vaccinated by 1 April. It means all staff will need to have their first dose by 3 February to avoid redeployment or dismissal.

I'm not vaccinated and I'm currently on sick leave, what does this mean for me?

You should immediately discuss your current circumstances with your line manager to go through any clinical or medical exemptions you may have.

Nurses who test positive for COVID-19, meaning they are unable to have their first dose before 3 February, will have a temporary exemption for 42 days from the day of their positive test. They will need to show evidence of a recorded positive lateral flow or PCR test.

If I am not fully vaccinated by 1 April, can I be redeployed to another role?

As nursing is a patient-facing role, it is extremely unlikely that unvaccinated nurses will be able to stay in their current job beyond the deadline for mandatory vaccinations. Line managers should organise a meeting with staff members who are not jabbed to discuss any reasonable possibilities for redeployment.

However, options for redeployment may be limited, and this will not be a guaranteed alternative. There could also be changes to a nurse’s band, pay and working arrangements if they are moved to another role.

If I choose to remain unvaccinated, can I be dismissed?

Yes. If, following one-to-one conversations, you decide to remain unvaccinated and if no redeployment opportunities are available, you could face dismissal effective from 1 April.

If you cannot be redeployed you may be asked to go on leave until your notice period is complete.


Find out more

NHS England and NHS Improvement (2022) Vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) for healthcare workers: Phase 2 – VCOD implementation

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