Covid vaccination will be made mandatory for GPs and other frontline health staff ‘by spring’, according to a reported Government leak.
The reports said the flu jab is not set to become compulsory, and that there will be medical exemptions for the Covid vaccine.
The Government is due to make the move – which only covers England – official shortly, the report said.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson 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. We will set out our response in due course.’
If the move if confirmed, it will spark both workload and workforce concerns for GPs.
The DHSC has already announced that GPs or specialists will have to approve medical exemptions for people working or volunteering in care homes.
Frontline healthcare workers at GP practices and independent sector health care providers (ISHCPs) had an uptake of 95.9% for the first dose and 91.5% for the second dose of the Covid vaccine, based on 562 organisations that supplied data for August.
Frontline trust staff scored considerably lower with an 84% uptake for the first dose and 75.2% for the second dose.
Dr Zishan Syed, a GP partner in Kent, said: ‘I am concerned that GPs may be required to do more exemptions. It’s unnecessary that the Government has divested the workload onto frontline staff.’
Dr Syed further expressed concerns that those in the health service who are unhappy with mandatory vaccinations ‘may actually just walk away from their posts’.
He added: ‘The health secretary’s approach is heavy-handed and unnecessarily so. There are other ways of persuading people to be vaccinated than threatening them, basically, with their jobs and livelihoods.
‘At the moment we’ve got this perverse situation where people don’t have to wear masks and can come into a healthcare facility, not be vaccinated but insist that everyone treating them is vaccinated.
‘Healthcare workers also have families as well, and it’s not fair to them to have this bipartisan situation where the people they treat don’t have to wear masks, don’t have to be vaccinated, but they do.’
More to follow…