Entire hospital units could be forced to shut because of staff quitting in protest at the government’s order that they must all be vaccinated against Covid-19, a senior NHS leader has warned.
Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said that at one hospital trust in England, 40 midwives were refusing to get jabbed, raising fears that the maternity unit may have to close.
“Trust leaders are acutely aware that, from April onwards, when Covid vaccinations will become mandatory, decisions by staff to remain unvaccinated could – in extreme circumstances – lead to patient services being put at risk,” said Hopson.
“If sufficient numbers of unvaccinated staff in a particular service in a particular location choose not to get vaccinated, the viability and/or safety of that service could be at risk.”
Hopson did not name the trust. But he cautioned that its maternity unit is “one representative example” of potential closures on grounds of patient safety that the government’s decision to compel NHS staff in England to be vaccinated or risk losing their job could lead to.
Hopson said: “I was talking to a [trust] chief executive who said that 40 of the midwives on their midwifery service … were saying they were not prepared to be vaccinated. Those staff, given their skills and their expertise, are not easily redeployed but they’re also extremely difficult to replace.