The NHS will begin sacking staff who have not had a Covid vaccine in just 16 days as the deadline to receive the first jab approaches on February 3rd, new guidance reveals.
All frontline staff are required to have had two jabs by April 1, meaning the first dose must have been administered by Feb 3rd. More than 80,000 – 6% of the workforce – remain unvaccinated despite repeated efforts to boost take-up.
Last week, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) urged ministers to delay the rules, saying they could have a “catastrophic” impact on the delivery of services.
NHS guidance to employers says all frontline staff who have not been vaccinated should start being called into formal meetings from Feb 4th and warned that they face dismissal. Dismissal notices will start being issued from that day, with the notice period ending on March 31st.
Roles covered by the rules include porters, receptionists and ward clerks as well as doctors and nurses.
NHS managers have been told they can redeploy frontline staff who will not be vaccinated into backroom roles that do not involve direct patient contact. But the guidance says they do not have to be concerned with finding “suitable alternative employment”, nor will redundancy payments be made to those who are dismissed.
Separate local guidance for GPs suggests creating different entrances and exits for unvaccinated staff to avoid them crossing paths with patients. The advice, from the Cambridgeshire local medical committee, says this would be a “pragmatic” approach.