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Nurses refusing COVID-19 jab will not face threat of fitness to practise proceedings

Staff uptake of vaccine is a local issue for healthcare employers to address, insists NMC
Nurses who refuse COVID jab will not face risk fo FtP, says NMC

NMC says individual nurses’ uptake of coronavirus vaccination is a local issue for healthcare employers to address

Nurses who refuse to have the coronavirus vaccine do not face the threat of a fitness to practise process.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe insisted it is the responsibility of employers to act if they deem it necessary.

Ms Sutcliffe was speaking at a meeting of the NMC’s council, where members discussed the NMC’s stance on mandatory vaccinations for front-line healthcare staff in England.

‘It is not a fitness to practise regulatory matter,’ she told council

NMC says individual nurses’ uptake of coronavirus vaccination is a local issue for healthcare employers to address

May Parsons, the nurse who administered the first coronavirus vaccine in December 2020, receives her booster jab at University Hospital, Coventry Picture: Alamy

Nurses who refuse to have the coronavirus vaccine do not face the threat of a fitness to practise process.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe insisted it is the responsibility of employers to act if they deem it necessary.

Ms Sutcliffe was speaking at a meeting of the NMC’s council, where members discussed the NMC’s stance on mandatory vaccinations for front-line healthcare staff in England.

‘It is not a fitness to practise regulatory matter,’ she told council members on 29 September.

Ms Sutcliffe added: ‘It is absolutely essential we are clear about this. We are encouraging people to take the vaccine. It is important to protect themselves, to protect the people they are supporting and caring for, and to protect people in the wider community. But we need to make sure it sits firmly with employers.’

Mandatory health and social care workforce vaccination

Ms Sutcliffe’s comments echoed her previous statement on mandatory vaccines for social care staff, when she said it would be up to employers to address any concerns.

From 11 November, all staff – including redeployed workers – in registered care homes in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A six-week consultation is underway on whether all health and social care staff in direct contact with patients in England should have both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, with a decision likely in the winter.

Issue of compulsory staff vaccination divides nurses

Mandatory vaccines has long been a contentious topic. When Nursing Standard asked nurses on Facebook whether COVID-19 vaccination should be be mandatory for nurses, the response was mixed.

One nurse said: ‘Many people will not be taking it – as is their choice. So why force others? Like we don’t have human rights.’

However, another responded: ‘Yes, unless they cannot take it for physiological problems. Other vaccinations are mandatory, why not this?’

A 2019 survey of nurses on the flu vaccine found while half of respondents supported compulsory immunisation, one third were against the idea.

The RCN supports promotion of the flu and COVID-19 vaccines among nursing staff but does not favour mandatory vaccination.


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