Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi hints Sajid Javid WILL make full vaccination a condition of employment for all NHS workers
- Nadhim Zahawi hinted vaccination will be condition of employment for NHS
- Sajid Javid is reportedly pushing forward with plans to make jabs a requirement
- Ministers believe compulsory jabs could restrict spread of the virus in hospitals
Reports suggest that Mr Javid, the Health Secretary, will proceed with the change as part of a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Mr Zahawi did not deny the move is on the table as he said ‘it is only right and responsible that we look at the duty of care for healthcare workers on the frontline and across the NHS’ who are looking after vulnerable people.
The Government is set to launch a consultation on the issue, potentially as soon as this week, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
However, there are fears that a vaccination requirement could spark an exodus of NHS staff.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi today hinted Sajid Javid is going to press ahead with plans to make full vaccination a condition of employment for all NHS staff
Reports suggest that Mr Javid will proceed with the change as part of a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus in hospitals
Mr Zahawi said approximately 94 per cent of frontline NHS staff have been vaccinated. A vaccination centre in London is pictured on August 8
The Sunday Telegraph reported that as many as one in four NHS workers in certain hospitals had not received a dose of the vaccine by April.
A Facebook group, called ‘NHS workers for choice, no restrictions for declining a vaccine’ has amassed as many as 2,600 members.
Asked about the suggestion that Mr Javid intends to make full vaccination a condition of employment for NHS staff, Mr Zahawi told Sky News: ‘You will recall that when we consulted on the condition for deployment of the social care workforce, of course who are looking after the most vulnerable people, especially those in elderly care homes who clearly Covid took its toll on, that consultation came back and we moved forward on that issue.
‘But within that consultation there was very clear feedback that we need to look at the greater healthcare workforce, including the NHS frontline workforce who I have to say, and it is worth just putting on the record, they have come forward in huge numbers to get themselves protected and vaccinated.
‘I think it is over 94 per cent of frontline healthcare workers have come forward.
‘But I think it is only right and responsible that we look at the duty of care for healthcare workers on the frontline and across the NHS who are looking after people who are, when they are entering hospital, vulnerable to infection and we consult and we will come back and of course publish that consultation in due course.’
Told that his answer sounded like a confirmation the change will happen, Mr Zahawi said: ‘I think the right thing to do is to consult and then publish that.’
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘NHS staff have a duty of care to those most vulnerable to Covid-19 and we are encouraging all frontline staff to come forward for the jab.
‘Ensuring the NHS is well-staffed is a top priority for this Government and we will continue to work with employers to ensure they have the right number of staff to meet increasing demand.’
A similar vaccination requirement has already been enforced on care home workers, resulting in staffing shortages, with all staff expected to have their first jab by September 16.
However, experts are predicting that as much as seven per cent of the care homes workforce could be depleted by the zero-tolerance policy.