The RCP has responded to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, that the government will open a new consultation on whether to scrap mandatory vaccinations for health and care staff.
Responding to the announcement, Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “We continue to strongly encourage all our members to take up the offer of COVID-19 and flu vaccinations as the benefits to both them and their patients are clear, but we also believe it is important that this remains a free choice. Vaccination of NHS staff has saved many lives and will continue to do so.
“Our data show that 99% of physicians are vaccinated and we are pleased the government has listened and agreed to a consultation on whether to scrap mandatory requirement. Many social care staff have already had to leave their jobs due to mandatory vaccination demands, and with the vaccination deadline looming we risk thousands more healthcare workers having to leave patient-facing roles. Removing the need for mandatory vaccinations would reduce the risk to patient care that we will undoubtedly see if we lose more staff, and it will improve our ability to respond to urgent and emergency care pressures as well as the backlog created by COVID.
“Further loss of staff is the last thing the NHS can afford when it is already experiencing record numbers of vacancies across health care professions.”