Mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS and care home staff

NHS workers and care home staff will be legally required to have coronavirus vaccinations under plans that have the personal support of Boris Johnson. Read more: Mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS and care home staff

Mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS and care home staff

NHS workers and care home staff will be legally required to have coronavirus vaccinations under plans that have the personal support of Boris Johnson.

The government will open a consultation on Thursday on making vaccinations a condition of employment for health service workers in an attempt to reduce transmission in hospitals and save lives.

Ministers will also announce that they are changing the law to make vaccines compulsory for staff employed in care homes amid concerns about take-up in some parts of the country.

According to official figures, 151,000 NHS workers, equivalent to slightly more that one in ten, are unvaccinated and 52,000 care home workers, equivalent to 16 per cent, have not been jabbed. In some regions take-up is significantly lower, and there are particular concerns about the rate of vaccination among people from ethnic minorities.

A study by The BMJ in February found that vaccine rates among ethnic minority doctors and healthcare staff were significantly lower than the rate among white staff.

All health and care workers should have been offered at least a first jab as they were in the first and second priority groups when the programme began.

A government source said that Johnson personally backs the proposals for mandatory vaccination: “It’s only that those who are caring for people who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus should be vaccinated. This will save lives.”

The move towards mandatory vaccination is likely to prove controversial. Labour has previously said that compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers is “threatening” staff at a time when the NHS is facing a recruitment crisis.

Unions are also opposed to mandatory vaccinations. Legal experts have also suggested that the move could be challenged as a potential breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act.

However, ministers are supportive of the approach. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has previously highlighted the requirement for some doctors and NHS staff to have the Hepatitis B vaccine as a potential precedent. That requirement, however, is based on guidance rather than enforced in legislation, whereas the Covid proposals would need legal changes and probably a vote in the Commons.

Although 89 per cent of NHS workers have had their first jab overall, there are significant regional disparities. In London nearly a fifth of NHS workers are unvaccinated and more than a quarter of staff have not received two doses.

Vaccine take-up is lower in care homes, where 83.7 per cent of staff have had one jab. There are significant regional disparities, with more than 25 per cent of staff unvaccinated in 18 local authority areas. The lowest take-up is in Barking and Dagenham in east London, Barnet in north London and Barnsley, where more than a third of care home staff are unvaccinated.

Jeremy Hunt, a former health secretary and chairman of the health select committee, has previously expressed his support for mandatory vaccinations. “Is there not a duty of care to patients and care home residents to protect them from asymptomatic transmission?” he asked. Of course medical exemptions should apply, but the question will be why, if the government bites the bullet for social care staff, it is not doing so for NHS staff.”

He pointed out that about 40 per cent of Covid infections during the first wave were among people who picked up the virus in hospital, suggesting that about 36,000 people caught the virus because of struggles to control transmission among patients and staff.

The Royal College of Nursing has said that it would not support staff being “coerced” into have a vaccine.

Thursday’s announcement on care homes follows a five-week consultation. The change is being made to a legal regulation in the Health and Social Care Act 2008. Doing the same for NHS workers requires a separate legal change and therefore a different consultation.

Scientific advisers have recommended that 80 per cent of staff in care homes should be vaccinated to provide the minimum level of protection. Vaccination levels are below that threshold in 65 local authority areas.

Ministers will amend regulations requiring staff to have vaccinations as a condition of employment, excluding those who can provide evidence of a medical exemption.

Care home managers will be required to check the vaccination status of staff. The government’s consultation on the issue asked whether staff who are not vaccinated should be redeployed or sacked.

A study in The BMJ found that ethnic minority doctors and staff were less likely to get vaccinated. The study, which was published in February and looked at staff at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust, found that 59 per cent of South Asian staff and 37 per cent of black staff had taken up the vaccine, compared with 71 per cent of white staff.

Kamlesh Khunti, a professor of primary care diabetes at the University of Leicester and the lead author of the study, said: “There wasn’t an issue about access for doctors. But there were a lot of issues of trust.”

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Mandatory Covid vaccines for NHS and care home staff

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It’s time to get back in the office, Morgan Stanley boss tells staff

The boss of Morgan Stanley, one of the biggest banks on Wall Street, has said he will be “very disappointed” if staff are not back in its offices by September. Read more: It’s time to get back in the office, Morgan Stanley boss tells staff

It’s time to get back in the office, Morgan Stanley boss tells staff

The boss of Morgan Stanley, one of the biggest banks on Wall Street, has said he will be “very disappointed” if staff are not back in its offices by September.

James Gorman said that employees who want to be paid at “New York rates” need to work in the city. He told a conference yesterday that if people feel safe enough to go out to a restaurant, they can also go into their workplace.

Some of the world’s most powerful investment banks are taking an increasingly firm stance on employees returning to the office after the widespread shift to home-working since March last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan, which is America’s biggest bank, said last month that he wanted staff back in the office because remote-working is not good for young people and “doesn’t work for those who want to hustle” or “for spontaneous idea generation”.

David Solomon, head of Goldman Sachs, has described home-working as an “aberration”, and employees at the firm’s Manhattan premises have been expected to be back at their desks from the beginning of this week. Goldman had told staff at its London office to be prepared to return when government restrictions relaxed on June 21 but yesterday’s extension of lockdown by Boris Johnson means that Goldman is expected to delay its plans for employees in Britain.

The comments from the Morgan Stanley chief to investors and analysts at a virtual conference mark Gorman out as one of Wall Street’s strongest advocates for the office.

He conceded that the pandemic had shown that the bank could be run more flexibly but said: “If you can go to a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office.”

He said that by the Labor Day holiday on September 6. “I’ll be very disappointed if people haven’t found their way into the office and then we’ll have a different kind of conversation”.

Gorman argued that offices were “where we teach, where our interns learn”, and added: “That’s how we develop people.”

Despite the push from some white-collar businesses to put an end to working from home arrangements there are signs that the experiences of the Covid-19 crisis will have a long-lasting impact on the way companies operate. Encouraging staff to spend more time working from home helps businesses to reduce their physical footprints and cut costs.

NatWest, which is one of Britain’s biggest high street lenders, is planning for 55 per cent of its staff to adopt a hybrid model of home and office working in the future, with only 13 per cent expected to do their jobs mainly from offices.

KPMG, one of Britain’s Big Four accounting firms, is switching to a “four-day fortnight” for its 16,000 employees in the UK, another hybrid model that will involve spending only four days of every two weeks in the office.

Read more:
It’s time to get back in the office, Morgan Stanley boss tells staff

Source : Business Matters More   

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