Mandatory vaccinations extended to front line health and social care workers

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed health and social care providers in England will be required to ensure workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who will it apply to?

Whilst almost 90% of NHS staff are already double jabbed, health and social care workers, including volunteers who have face-to-face contact with service users, will need to provide evidence they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to be deployed, unless exempt.

The measures will also apply to ancillary staff such as porters or receptionists who have contact with patients but not directly involved with their care and will apply across the CQC regulated health and social care sector.

 

Why is the vaccine mandate being extended?

The vaccine mandate has been extended to ensure patients and staff are protected against infection and to protect the most vulnerable people in society who use NHS services.

The requirements will come into force Spring 2022, with a 12-week grace period between the regulations being made and coming into force, to allow those who have not yet been double vaccinated to have both doses.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the new regulations will come into force on 1 April 2022.

Keeping compliant

GP’s and NHS Trusts covered by the legislation will need to keep records of vaccinations and exemptions of all workers (including full time, part time, agency staff and volunteers) for the purposes of CQC inspections.

Should the Government introduce a vaccination “booster” requirement in the future, workers will also be required to receive those additional vaccinations.

 

Existing employees

Existing employees will need to provide you with proof of vaccination or proof of clinical exemption (deadline date to be confirmed). If they have not completed a full course of vaccination, they will no longer be permitted to enter your premises and it will be extremely difficult to continue with employment/engagement.

 

Acceptable forms of clinical exemption

A letter from a General Practitioner and/or any practising specialist medical professional whose care you are under, explaining the reasons why you are medically/clinically exempt and whether it is anticipated that the exemption is temporary or permanent

We do not think you need to issue new employment contracts for your existing employees, but it is essential that you communicate with them.

 

Employment contracts and offer letters for new hires

When recruiting new employees into your GP practice on NHS Trust, we suggest including some contractual wording in your employment contracts and proof of vaccination/exemption in your offer letters.

You can access this wording for free, including a template employment contract and template standard offer letter by signing up to Primed, our online system for our 12-month free trial.

 

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