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Health bosses will unveil plans for compulsory Covid jabs in NHS ‘within days’

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Ministers will make Covid vaccines compulsory for all NHS staff in England from April, it was claimed today.

A source close to the negotiations said the move was a ‘done deal’ and that it could be unveiled as soon as Thursday.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid is rumoured to still have reservations about the policy, with the insider describing him as ‘genuinely split’ — despite publicly saying he was ‘leaning towards’ the mandate.

Health officials, however, have told MailOnline ‘no final decision’ has been made and that there is unlikely to be an announcement until next week.

The Government has been considering the move for months in a bid to protect the NHS this winter. 

But critics say it is ‘neither necessary nor proportionate’, given that 92 per cent of NHS staff are already jabbed.

And care bosses have warned the compulsory vaccine mandate in their sector has been futile, with just 30,000 coming forward after it was made a legal requirement. 

Care home workers will be required to have two doses from November 11 in order to keep their jobs.

But figures suggest some 60,000 employees have not got their shots in time, with unions warning the mass exodus could leave some homes ‘no longer able to operate’.

Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)

Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)

A source involved in discussions told the i newspaper that the move to make jabs compulsory in the NHS was imminent.

They said: ‘It sounded like a done deal based on the document we were shown by the Department of Health and discussions we had with them.

They added, however: ‘But it did seem that Sajid Javid was genuinely split on the decision and they were going to watch what happened in New York.’  

‘This is all part of Javid’s “I’m not taking any nonsense from doctors” stance.

Making Covid vaccine compulsory for care home workers had ‘little’ effect, industry insiders say 

Making Covid vaccines compulsory for care home workers had little effect on boosting uptake, industry insiders say amid fears forcing the jabs on NHS workers will also be futile.

Ministers have made it a legal requirement for all care home staff to get their second jab by November 11 or face losing their job, with the hope of boosting uptake and protecting vulnerable residents.

But care bosses told MailOnline today the policy failed in its main objective of boosting uptake and was enforced ‘without considering’ the consequences. Critics warn it will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Latest figures suggest just 30,000 elderly care home workers have come forward for their first vaccine since parliament voted to make vaccination compulsory in July.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group — which represents providers in Yorkshire, said making jabs compulsory only had ‘a little bit of an effect’ on the 1.5million-strong sector.

Health chiefs are also on the verge of introducing the ‘no jab, no job’ policy in the NHS ahead of what is expected to be a challenging winter, despite calls to postpone the move until April to avoid a staff exodus. More than nine in 10 NHS staff are already jabbed.

Care home employees will be required to be double-jabbed to keep working in the sector from next week, but a loophole could see unvaccinated employees continue working in the sector until two days before Christmas. Care bosses fear this could spark a ‘mass exodus’ just ahead of Christmas Day — derailing family plans.

‘He picked a fight with GPs [over remote consultations] he didn’t need to have and could now be picking a fight with the wider health and care community.’

Mr Javid threatened to name and shame under-performing surgeries last month and send ‘hit squads’ to those who were not seeing enough people in person.

But the move led to an ugly row with GPs who said they had been ‘insulted’.

The source suggested the Health Secretary was now seeking to soften his stance, after getting on to the wrong foot with the health service barely five months into the job. 

Official documents, shown to the i, warned Covid and flu were set to add ‘substantial pressure’ to the NHS this winter.  

They added there was ‘unacceptable uncertainty’ around whether un-vaccinated employees had given the viruses to patients in previous years. 

Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, is reportedly already telling senior health figures to expect an announcement on Thursday.

But the Department of Health refused to recognise that timeline.

A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘No final decisions have been made and we will set out our response in due course. 

‘It’s never too late to take up the offer and we would urge everyone who is eligible to come forward as we head into the winter months.’

Questions have been raised about whether the move is necessary in the NHS because figures suggest some 92 per cent (1.34million) of the workforce in England have already got their first dose.

And 89 per cent of the workforce (1.3million) have got both doses. 

There are also already more than 100,000 vacancies in the NHS – including more than 4,000 doctors and 18,000 nurses.

There are fears that imposing a ‘no jab, no job’ policy would exacerbate these numbers as the NHS heads into what is expected to be one of the toughest winters yet. 

Mr Javid said he was ‘leaning towards’ making vaccines compulsory for NHS employees last month.

But he appears to have heeded calls from health chiefs to delay the policy until April because of the ‘very, very’ difficult winter ahead.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers — which represents trusts, publicly called for the delay earlier this week.

But he did not rail against compulsory vaccinations, suggesting health leaders supported the measure. He said a small majority of hospitals had already signalled their support for the policy.

The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory

The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory

The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine

The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine

Around 60,000 unvaccinated care workers face sack

Tens of thousands of care home workers face being sacked within days because they are not fully vaccinated against Covid, unions have warned.

Figures suggest some 60,000 employees in England — roughly a tenth of the entire workforce — are still yet to turn up for two jabs, and half of these have not even had their first dose.

Homes in Manchester, Nottingham, Westminster and Birmingham face the biggest crisis, with around one in five employees still yet to be double-jabbed.

Unions today warned a mass staff exodus could be the ‘final straw’ for the sector, and leave many homes ‘no longer able to operate’.

Some sites in the South West have already stopped taking patients from hospitals, leaving ward beds blocked.

Elderly care home workers are legally required to have had both of their Covid jabs by November 11, next week, to keep working in the sector.

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the measure in June, saying it would help to boost uptake and protect vulnerable residents.

But care home sources have called for the deadline to be delayed, and said making them compulsory has only had ‘a little’ impact on uptake.

A consultation on whether to make Covid — and flu — vaccinations compulsory for NHS staff concluded at the end of October.

But the i newspaper reports ministers have been waiting to publish the results until after the COP26 summit. 

Some groups today opposed the policy being thrust on the NHS ahead of the winter.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: ‘We do not think that making the Covid vaccine mandatory for doctors is either necessary or proportionate.

‘So if it’s true that the Department of Health is pressing ahead with compulsory vaccination we would be very wary.’

She added: ‘While we do think that it is the professional responsibility of doctors to get the jab, when we know that more than 92 per cent of them have already done so, you have to ask why such a heavy-handed approach is being taken.’ 

Unions have warned that some care homes face being crippled next week when it is made compulsory for their employees to have received two Covid jabs.

Figures suggest those in Manchester, Nottingham, Westminster and Birmingham face the biggest crisis with around one in five employees yet to be double-jabbed.

Some homes in the South West have already stopped taking patients from hospitals, leaving wards bed blocked.

Care home sources have called for the deadline to be delayed, and said making the jabs compulsory has only had ‘a little’ impact on uptake.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘We have taken action to introduce vaccination requirements in care homes and we recently consulted on extending this further across health and other social care services. 

‘No final decisions have been made and we will set out our response in due course.

‘Vaccines are safe and effective and almost 4 in 5 people in the UK have already had both jabs to protect themselves against Covid. 

‘It’s never too late to take up the offer and we would urge everyone who is eligible to come forward as we head into the winter months.’

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