• Friday, December 02, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Covid: 5,000 NHS staff could lose their jobs if not vaccinated

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask passes a sign for Britain’s NHS (National Health Service) Test and Trace service testing centre in East Ham in east London, on September 17, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Alastair Lockhart

NEARLY 5,000 NHS staff in East London could lose their jobs if they do not get the coronavirus vaccine.

The government announced on November 9 that all frontline NHS staff would be required to get both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, or risk losing their jobs.

Barts Health NHS trust, which runs five London hospitals, has one of the lowest rates of vaccinated staff in the capital.

The vast majority of staff at Barts Health have been vaccinated – 84.6 per cent of the 24,516 workforce have had one dose, while 79.7 have had both jabs, according to NHS figures.

However, this is a much lower rate than many other NHS trusts in London – for example, 85 per cent of the staff at the Central and North London Trust have had both doses.

At Barts Health 4,981 staff have not had both doses and 3,772 have not had either.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 NHS staff in England have not been vaccinated, according to the BBC.

The government is expected to make April 1 the deadline for NHS workers to get vaccinated, and those unvaccinated by then will not be able to work on the health service’s front lines.

Health secretary Sajid Javid told MPs that after a consultation, the decision was necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus.

He said: “We must avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and, of course, protect the NHS itself.”

Covid cases at Barts Health rose quickly in October, and as of November 9 there were 117 patients in the trust’s wards with Covid-19.

Of these, 32 were being treated in intensive care or with enhanced oxygen.

An ICU doctor at Barts Health told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the vast majority of patients being admitted to intensive care had not been vaccinated and urged everyone eligible to get the jab.

Barts Health runs St Bartholomew’s Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, Mile End Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital and Newham Hospital.

The five hospitals treat around 1.3 million patients a year, according to the trust’s figures.

A spokesperson for Barts Health said: “Trust is committed to working with its staff to increase our vaccination uptake.

“Our core vaccination team have now been established in four hospital hubs, who are working alongside our teams to increase uptake for Covid-19 and also winter flu jabs.”

(Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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