Hundreds of Fylde coast hospital workers face the sack unless they agree to compulsory Covid jabs
Hundreds of hospital workers on the Fylde coast face the sack unless they agree to compulsory Covid jabs after health secretary Sajid Javid said frontline heroes and social care workers 'carry a unique responsibility' to 'avoid preventable harm'.
He told Parliament this afternoon only those who do not have face-to-face contact with patients or who are medically exempt will not be required to have two doses of a Covid jab, with enforcement of the rule starting from April 1.
Last week, James Wilkie, a director at the NHS trust running Blackpool Victoria Hospital and the Clifton Hospital, told a meeting eight per cent of workers remain unvaccinated.
He said: "Translate that to numbers, that's several hundred people."
He warned that, should the jabs become compulsory, bosses 'could be looking at dismissals'.
Estephanie Dunny from the north west branch of the Royal College of Nursing, said the union 'supports vaccination for health and social care staff - what we are not in favour of is making vaccination compulsory'.
She added: "The pandemic has exposed that NHS and social care services are chronically short of staff and those services and the patients who rely on them cannot afford to lose the capacity and expertise of staff who don't want to be vaccinated."
Making a Covid-19 update statement in the Commons, Mr Javid told MPs: "We head into the winter months in a much stronger position than last year. Of all the reasons for this progress the greatest is unquestionably our vaccination programme.
"Across the UK the overwhelming majority of us have made the positive choice to accept the offer of vaccines against Covid-19, almost eight in every 10 people over the age of 12 have chosen to be double jabbed and over 10 million people have now received their boosters or third jabs."
He added: "The latest figures show that 90 per cent of NHS staff have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, although in some trusts the figure is closer to 80 per cent."
But Mr Javid said the decision to make the jabs compulsory doesn't mean the Government does not recognise concerns about 'workforce pressures' this winter - with the Vic being particularly hard hit, even declaring an internal critical incident amid swamped scenes in A&E, in recent weeks.
He said: "It's with this in mind that we've chosen for the condition not to come into force until 12 weeks after parliamentary approval, allowing time for remaining colleagues to make the positive choice to protect themselves of those around them, and time for workforce planning."
Mr Javid also noted the Government will not introduce any requirement on flu jabs at this stage but "we will keep this under review".
He added: "Allow me to be clear that no one in the NHS or care that is currently unvaccinated should be scapegoated, singled out or shamed. That would be totally unacceptable.
"This is about supporting them to make a positive choice to protect vulnerable people, to protect their colleagues. And of course to protect themselves."
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