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GPs to have ‘one-to-one conversations’ with practice staff who are not fully vaccinated, says NHSE


GP appointment face-to-face


GPs should have ‘one-to-one conversations’ with any member of practice staff who has not had both doses of the vaccine, NHS England has said.

It comes as doctors are set to debate mandatory Covid vaccination for all doctors at the BMA’s upcoming annual representatives’ meeting.

New NHS England guidance published last week said the meetings should ‘continue’ to take place to ‘protect our patients and services’.

It said: ‘To support colleagues and to protect our patients and services, NHS providers and primary care organisations are also asked to ensure that: one-to-one conversations continue with any member of staff or student who has not had both doses of the vaccine.’

An NHS England spokesperson said this is based on previous guidance for trust HR directors, but was unable to point Pulse to any previous primary care guidance about the meetings.

The guidance added that ‘robust local monitoring processes’ should also be in place for ‘regular’ student and staff testing and that all staff must be offered ‘continuous learning’ on UK infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance, including ‘refresher’ events.

Dr Mike Smith, a partner in Hertfordshire, said he feels ‘deeply uncomfortable’ about having the meetings with so little guidance about next steps.

He told Pulse: ‘I’m more than up for having a conversation with my staff about the risks and benefits [of the Covid vaccine] but after I’ve had that conversation, what next?

‘We’ve got a workforce crisis, we’ve got barely any staff and barely enough appointments anyway. Is this just going to be something once more that pushes someone away from general practice if they feel they’re being coerced into having a second dose of the jab?’

He added: ‘Let’s face it, if someone’s not had the jab by now, they’re not likely to be pushed over the edge by a GP saying “you really should think about it”. So the question I have, is what do you want us to do about it if they still refuse it?

‘If they’re in an obvious patient-facing environment then the conversation probably needs to be had with an occupational health department rather than us. In short, I feel deeply uncomfortable having those conversations.’

The guidance also said that fully vaccinated GPs who are identified as a close contact of a Covid case will be ‘expected to return to work’ thanks to their self-isolation exemption.

Meanwhile, doctors attending the BMA’s annual representatives’ meeting next month will debate a motion on making Covid vaccination mandatory for all doctors who are not medically contraindicated.

The motion, proposed by the BMA’s Islington Division, said: ‘This meeting believes that all doctors should be vaccinated against Covid-19, unless there is a medical contraindication.’

Last month, the House of Commons approved proposed regulations to make vaccination mandatory for all staff working in care homes, including visiting GPs.

The Government previously said that it would launch a further public consultation ‘in due course’ on whether or not to make Covid and flu vaccination ‘a condition of deployment’ in GP practices.

And in March, the GMC told Pulse that GPs have a professional duty to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and individual refusals could be investigated by the regulator.

The BMA conference, which will take place on 13 and 14 September, is also set to debate NHS England’s ‘negative briefings’ suggesting GP practices were ‘shut’ during the pandemic.

READERS' COMMENTS [7]

Michael Mullineux 19 August, 2021 9:54 am

Command and control micromanagement by the inept and clueless

Roger Boyle 19 August, 2021 10:32 am

Are other employers mandated to have “conversations” with employees?

Vijay Kudari 19 August, 2021 11:03 am

Forcing doctors/staff to undergo vaccination really makes an absolute mockery of “informed” choice.

An absolutely disgrace which flies in the face of autonomy, civil liberties, freedom & mental capacity.

terry sullivan 19 August, 2021 11:56 am

nhse and phe should be abolished–not replaced

terry sullivan 19 August, 2021 11:56 am

agreed v k

Patrufini Duffy 19 August, 2021 1:28 pm

Agree to not agree.

Patrick Mcnally 19 August, 2021 9:14 pm

People are free to have the free vaccine.
Or no vaccine, a P45, and no job.

It’s really very simple.
Noone has to have the vaccine.

But you should.

Vaccine hesitancy is a fascinating paranoia.