Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham

Union’s relief at vaccine mandate u-turn for Notts NHS staff

A Union says there is ‘relief’ among some Nottingham hospital workers after the Government’s vaccine mandate U-turn for NHS staff.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week there are plans to scrap the rule that all frontline NHS staff must be Covid vaccinated and a consultation is being launched.

It means any NHS staff who are patient-facing but have still not had the vaccine can keep their jobs, provided Parliamentary approval is won following the consultation.

Hundreds of NHS workers in the county could have been sacked over the requirement – including a handful of nurses and midwives at Nottingham’s two main hospitals.

Before this week’s U-turn, uptake among unvaccinated staff had improved significantly since January 12, when trade union Unison said around 1,600 members of its 15,000 Nottingham University Hospitals staff remained unvaccinated.

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Mr Javid told MPs it was “only right” that the policy was reviewed – just days ahead of February 3, the date by which completely unvaccinated staff needed to have had their first jab in order to meet the April deadline.

Jamie Godber, Unison’s NUH branch secretary said: “We welcome this move because if we can save people’s jobs, that’s the ideal. It’s a relief for us and our members and it takes the pressure off.

“We are still cautious about the future because they’ve not set anything in stone yet.

“They [the Government] have committed to reviewing but they’ve not said outright that they won’t do it.

“I am going to look into those people who had the vaccine that who were sort of forced into it before the deadline to see if there are any routes we can take with that legally.”

Mansfield MP and leader of Nottinghamshire County Council Ben Bradley (Con) also said he backed the change of policy.

He said: “It is important for the service and all those individual members of staff who have grafted throughout the most high-risk period of the pandemic to know that they are secure in their jobs going forward.”

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