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GPs have duty to be vaccinated against Covid-19 under GMC regulations


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

It comes as a bulletin from NHS England, sent on Tuesday, said NHS staff ‘have a professional responsibility to get vaccinated’.

The GMC told Pulse said their guidance is clear that ‘that doctors should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases unless medically contraindicated’.

The GMC told Pulse it would look at any concerns reported to them on a case-by case basis, with a spokesperson adding: ‘If there are good reasons why vaccination is not appropriate in individual cases, we’d expect strong measures in place to minimise risk and protect vulnerable patients.’

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges also issued a statement reminding doctors of their duty as set out in the GMC Good Medical Practice guidelines.

‘The evidence for both the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines is strong and clear cut,’ the statement from member colleges which includes the RCGP said.

‘We believe it is particularly important for health and care staff to be vaccinated if at all possible because of the responsibility we all have in our various interactions with patients.’

In its primary care bulletin, NHS England said: ‘We strongly encourage all health and care staff to get vaccinated. Our clinical leaders agree with the Chief Medical Officer that NHS staff have a professional responsibility to get vaccinated and we hope as many as possible are able take up the offer.’

It urged anyone with concerns about the vaccine to speak to their employer and asked that the AoMRC statement be shared to ‘reinforce take up amongst health and care professionals’.

The Nursing and Midwifery council has said that they recognise that those on their register have their own personal beliefs, including around any potential Covid-19 vaccine but as their code sets out they have ‘a duty to act in a way that puts the interests of those using heath and care services first and prioritises their care and safety’.

Responding to questions about vaccine hesitancy among NHS staff in a parliamentary hearing, Nadhim Zahawi, minister for vaccine deployment said he would reiterate what Chris Whitty had said.

‘If you’re looking after a vulnerable person to Covid, then it is your professional duty if offered the jab to take the jab.’

During the session on take up of Covid-19 vaccines in minority ethnic groups and women he added that figures showed uptake of more than 90% among NHS front line health care workers.

The minister also pointed to ONS surveillance which has indicated that 94% of all UK adults are on course to accept a Covid vaccination.


Andrew kelsey 10 March, 2021 6:40 pm

How much of an issue is this? –
are there many GP’s refusing to have a vacc.?

Hank Beerstecher 11 March, 2021 10:09 am

WWJSD? (what would Joseph Stalin do)
Vaccination is a medical procedure. When was the last time people were obliged to undergo medical procedures? C19 is a mild self limiting disease for the vast majority and serious for a few, there is an effective and safe vaccine for anyone that wants to protect themselves, it would make sense to vaccinate those at risk that want to be protected. It would make sense to offer vaccine to those most likely to spread the disease; bus drivers, teachers, supermarket personnel, children etc.

Sam Macphie 11 March, 2021 11:31 am

This is a very real issue. The philosophy and the science are true. Get vaccinated to protect yourself and others. Encourage everyone to have the vaccine. In hospitals they’ve seen the serious and deadly outcomes. BAME and white doctors and nurses die, and for their protection and for everyone’s sake,we need vaccination, and it’s our duty to spread the word. You know how one infected person can spread infection exponentially. It began in this country after all, with just one or two cases of Covid in Yorkshire. So don’t moan so much about PPE or risks of BAME and other groups or how much this pandemic costs the NHS and our economy, and children’s education and future jobs and wages, or a family member sadly dies, if you don’t get vaccinated yourself: Gold standard.

Prashant Patel 11 March, 2021 12:29 pm

Health care professional who refuse vaccination really have to reflect on why they went into healthcare in the first place and perhaps consider a career change.

Daniel Carlton-Conway 11 March, 2021 1:00 pm

125,000 and counting is quite a few! Wearing a seatbelt in a car is not optional, why should covid vaccination be?

Daniel Carlton-Conway 11 March, 2021 1:03 pm

That meant to say covid vaccination could be considered as mandatory as wearing a seatbelt, with the added advantage it keeps others safe too!

Nicholas Grundy 11 March, 2021 2:22 pm

I’ve been vaccinated, but trying to take regulatory disciplinary action against someone who chooses not to is completely monstrous.

I would refuse to vaccinate a medical professional who was only consenting under the duress of avoiding a GMC investigation, because they cannot in that situation give valid consent.

Patrufini Duffy 11 March, 2021 3:06 pm

Sounds like the GMC are blurring their definition of autonomy, confidentiality, dignity and respect. GPs are patients too, leave them alone. Patients “come first”.