London hospital, where doctor urges Sajid Javid over mandatory stabbing for NHS staff, could lose 1,000 unvaccinated staff when new rule comes into force
- The director of King’s College Hospital said he was “worried” about losing 1,000 employees
- Anesthesiologist consultant Steve James does not agree with mandatory vaccinations
- Heath Secretary said the science was not strong enough to support the move
A hospital in London, where a doctor has challenged the health minister over mandatory NHS staffing, could lose 1,000 unvaccinated staff.
Head of King’s College Hospital Dr. Clive Kay admitted he was “worried” because about 10 percent of the hospital’s approximately 14,000 employees had not yet received their first dose.
Dr. Kay said his job was to ‘encourage staff to get vaccinated’ after Health Minister Sajid Javid was questioned by Steve James, an anesthesiologist’s consultant in the ICU, during a visit to the hospital.
The consultant told the health minister that he did not agree with the government’s decision to introduce compulsory vaccination for NHS hospital staff because science was not strong enough to support the move.
The TUC has called for a postponement of the NHS’s compulsory vaccination policy to prevent shortage of key staff after Dr Steve James (pictured talking to Sajid Javid) told Sajid Javid of his refusal to be vaccinated.
Dr Kay declined to comment on “individual cases,” but said it was a “point of contention” as to whether or not the measures were fair because they were now a matter of law.
Hospital executives are now stepping up their efforts to encourage hospital staff to be stabbed as the deadline approaches for the first dose, he said.
In December, MEPs approved mandatory vaccinations for NHS and social workers until April this year.
On the BBC’s Sunday Morning, Dr Kay said: “The law is now that individuals who are not vaccinated if they cannot be relocated will not be able to work in hospitals when dealing with patients.
“We interview employees, their line managers have interviews, we have a helpline where colleagues look for explanations and help.”
In the “extreme” scenario, more than 1,000 employees could be lost if vaccine absorption among the workforce does not improve, Dr. Kay.
NHS England figures show that a total of 68,082 employees were ill on Boxing Day. More than a third of absences (24,632) were caused by Covid, which is 31 percent more than 18,829 who missed work a week earlier due to the virus. COVID absences more than doubled in a fortnight, with only 12,240 discounts because they were infected or isolated two weeks earlier, on December 12.
Asked if he was worried, Dr. Kay said, “Yes, of course. I think my job is to take care of, my job is to take care of everything that has to do with whether we have enough staff here to provide patient care and we will continue to do so, and we will provide patient care, but in the end, if individuals decide not (it is) their choice, “he said.
Minister of Education Nadhim Zahawi also supported the call for NHS staff to be vaccinated despite staff shortages and an anesthesiologist’s call on Mr Javid.
In a Sunday morning show, the BBC said: ‘I think when you work with the most vulnerable people – and those who go to the hospital are very vulnerable, as are those in our nursing homes – you have a duty to take care of them.’
After an exchange of views with Mr Javid at KCH, Dr James told the PA agency that he did not believe Covid was causing “very significant problems” for young people.
He added that his ICU patients were “extremely overweight” with many other comorbidities.
“I wouldn’t say he agreed with me,” he said.
“I felt like he was listening.”
The most common health problems warn, as the number of sick NHS staff has reached 120,000
NHS trusts have “never known” such high absenteeism, health chiefs warned today, with 120,000 employees at work this week – half of them isolated or tested positive for Covid – and the military is now deployed to fill the gaps.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), says doctors and nurses are under “extraordinary pressure” to cover colleagues at home.
However, Boris Johnson, who sent troops today to help NHS staff in London, insists the health service can “ride” the Omicron wave as the number of infections and deaths fell yesterday.
Much fewer people are also admitted to intensive care than in previous waves, and the length of hospital stay is shortening.
Meanwhile, ministers have rejected claims that hospitals are on the verge of collapse, with Environment Minister George Eustice predicting that acute NHS problems will be “quite short-lived.”
They also refused to follow US steps by reducing the isolation period to five days – a move that some experts say will ease pressure on personnel issues.
According to data leaked to the Health Service Journal today, staff absences in the NHS England rose from 80,000 on January 2 to almost 120,000 on Wednesday, January 5 – 20 percent higher than the maximum last January.
Approximately 62,000 of the 120,000 absences reported 48 hours ago were people who tested positive for Covid or isolated themselves.
The highest absenteeism rates were in the Midlands, North East and Yorkshire and the North West, where more than 10 percent of all employees are away.
Even before the pandemic, these trusts showed a frequency of staff absences.