UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid told health care workers who are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine to “get out and get another job” if they still don’t want to get vaccinated.
Trade unions and care home providers cautioned that the division might face a staffing crisis if workers lose their jobs due to declining a legal mandate to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The National Care Association has pushed for a break in the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the policy could result in substandard care or even witness homes closing their doors.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Javid was asked if he would consider pausing the vaccination mandate, and the health secretary firmly said he won’t.
“No, I won’t. What I don’t accept is slowing down the requirement to vaccinate.”
“Look, if you want to work in a care home, you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country. And if you can’t be bothered to go and get vaccinated, then get out and go and get another job.”
He then added that if health care workers want to look after the vulnerable ones, and be able to feed and put them to bed, then they should be vaccinated.
“If you’re not going to get vaccinated, then why are [you] working in care?” he added.
How The Country Will Cope With Staff Shortage
Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, said that the sector expects an estimated 70,000 healthcare workers to be forced to leave because of the vaccine mandates.
Javid was then asked for his plans if the country experiences staff shortage, to which he responded that there are other people, and these people “will come forward.”
Ahmed also shared that staff leaving has begun, and they see the severe impact on the sector.
“We’ve heard of providers shutting the doors. They just can’t go on anymore,” she told BMJ.
Health Care Workers Are Given Until Nov. 11 To Get Fully Vaccinated
In England, health care workers were instructed to have their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by the end of Sept. 16 to meet the government’s deadline for full vaccination by Nov. 11.
Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care said that over 90% of eligible social care workers have already received their first dose following the deadline. In comparison, nearly 84% have already received their second dose of the vaccine.
Javid Pushes For Face-to-Face Consultations
The health secretary is pushing to get GP’s to do more to have face-to-face appointments back on track, saying that the return to the pre-pandemic “needs to move much faster.”
But professionals are hesitant to push for face-to-face appointments arguing that the infection level of the COVID-19 virus is still too high for the old practice of people in waiting rooms return.
According to the Royal College of General Practitioners chair, Professor Martin Marshall, “There’s no point in having a right if it’s undeliverable at the moment because of the workload pressures.”
Javid still insists that they need to work together to make sure that they can give patients the choice they are asking for.
“There are patients who might prefer remote consultation. But others prefer face-to-face. To get where we need to be, there has to be a partnership with GPs, working together to alleviate some of the pressures they face.”