Unvaccinated Lincolnshire hospital staff will not be fired after review of rules

Hospital bosses in Lincolnshire have said staff will not be fired for refusing jabs against COVID, as the government announces a review into its mandatory vaccination programme.
Covid vaccine SUS-210901-143747001Covid vaccine SUS-210901-143747001
Covid vaccine SUS-210901-143747001

United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust’s board meeting on Tuesday has been told that around 200 staff remained unvaccinated in Lincolnshire’s hospitals.

However, on Monday night Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced a review would be launched into plans to make COVID vaccinations mandatory for NHS staff by April with a view to revoking the rules.

Chief executive of the trust Andrew Morgan said the review had “paused” the “Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment (VCOD)” requirements.

He told members that while this was taking place: “We will not serve notice on staff, we will not be pursuing the VCOD regulations.”

The board was due to get an update on the vaccination programme as part of its agenda.

Paul Matthew, Director of Finance and Digital and Director of People at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust told board members this morning that 96 per cent of staff had at least one dose of the vaccine and 82 per cent were triple-dosed.

“That’s very much come to a stand-still whilst we have been in the board meeting, a communication has gone out to all our colleagues about the latest change in position.”

He said when the measures were originally announced, 450 staff were found to be unvaccinated, but that following a series of one-to-one meetings the figure on the books had reduced to just under 400.

However, he added: “About half of those have had the vaccination somewhere in the UK or overseas and there is a lag in the data.”

A report before the board, which was two weeks out of date already, had said there were around 60 staff who had refused to have the vaccine or engage with the trust on the subject.

Board members thanked their staff for the work so far, and said they would continue to encourage people to take up the vaccination as and when appropriate.

In the House of Commons on Monday night, Mr Javid made “no apology” for the initial policy but said it was vital to look at the impact on NHS and social care staff “especially at a time where we already have a shortage of workers and near full employment across the economy”.

He said that in December the proposals were the “right policy at the time”.

“It has also proven to be the right policy in retrospect, given the severity of Delta.”

Announcing a full consultation, he said: “Subject to the responses and the will of this house, the government will revoke the regulations.

“I have always been clear that our rules must remain proportionate and balanced, and of course, should we see another dramatic change in the virus, it would be only responsible to review this policy again.”

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