Consultation on mandatory vaccination for health and care staff
- AuthorJulie Temple
A six-week consultation was launched by the Government on 9 September to seek views on its plans for staff in health and care settings in England to be required to have COVID-19 and flu vaccines to protect vulnerable people. They will then decide whether to make vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in health and care settings.
The Government’s case is:
- 92% of NHS trust staff have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 88% of staff have been double vaccinated.
- Flu vaccination has been recommended for staff and vulnerable groups in the UK since the late 1960s.
- Its proposals will protect patients and also staff, which is important for hospitals where unexpected staff absences puts additional pressure on staff and detrimentally affects patient care during busy periods, especially winter.
- Many patients being treated in hospitals and other clinical settings are most at risk of suffering serious consequences of COVID-19.
- It is exploring mandatory vaccines for both COVID-19 and flu because of the positive impact vaccines have against respiratory viruses, which can be fatal to the vulnerable.
- The Government recently introduced mandatory vaccination for staff working in the adult social care sector to protect care home residents.
- Workers will now need to be double jabbed as a condition of deployment in Care Quality Commission regulated care homes in England by 11 November, unless exempt (although we are aware of a pending legal challenge which might impact this and the proposed requirement in the health and care sectors).
- The COVID-19 vaccine has already had a significant impact on reducing hospitalisations and deaths, with Public Health England estimating that over 112,000 lives have been saved so far.
The consultation will seek views on the proposals, its scope, and any potential impact it could have on staffing and safety, such as reducing staff sickness absence. You can view the full consultation details at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultation-on-mandatory-vaccination-for-frontline-health-and-care-staff
The Government says the findings from the consultation will help inform decision-making around how the change could be implemented and who could be exempt – if a decision is taken to introduce this requirement. Staff, healthcare providers, stakeholders, patients and their families are being urged to take part to have their views heard, with a final decision expected this winter.
We recently held a webinar for care home leaders and HR professionals in care home settings. You can watch this webinar by registering here: Mandatory vaccinations in care homes (office.com).
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