A public consultation on making Covid-19 and flu jabs compulsory for patient-facing staff across all healthcare settings will be launched ‘shortly’, NHS England has confirmed.
The Government revealed it would consider making Covid and flu vaccinations mandatory for all healthcare staff last month, after it decided to enforce Covid-19 vaccinations for social care staff from October following a public consultation.
NHS England guidance published last Thursday confirmed the Government consultation ‘on mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for all patient facing health and care staff’ will take place ‘shortly’.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said compulsory flu vaccinations across healthcare settings will also be considered as part of the consultation, which they added will be launched in ‘due course’.
They continued: ‘This is a complex issue and the government is looking for a wide range of perspectives from across the health and care sector about whether this should be introduced and how it could be implemented.’
More details will be included when the consultation is launched, including exactly what the consultation will cover and how long it will be open.
The mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for social care staff proved controversial, with care home leaders giving warnings to Nursing in Practice the requirement could worsen existing recruitment and retention problems.
In April, Mike Padgham, Independent Care Group chair and owner of Saint Cecilia’s Care Services in Yorkshire, told Nursing in Practice that ‘no one should be forced to receive the vaccine’ and warned the requirement could ‘be a barrier to recruitment and retention’ in the already struggling sector.
Louise Brady, a clinical development lead at the Royal British Legion care homes, also argued at the time that ‘continuous, clear and positive messaging’ around vaccination is instead needed across social care and echoed fears of ‘massive workforce implications of the decision’.
The NHS England guidance that confirmed the consultation also said GP practices should deliver a maximum of 75% of Covid booster jabs and minimum of 40%.