Too early to say whether unvaccinated doctors or nurses will lose jobs

25 August 2021
What was claimed

Thousands of doctors and nurses will lose their jobs for being unvaccinated.

Our verdict

A public consultation is due to launch on whether to make vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers, but we don’t know the outcome yet.

A Facebook post suggests thousands of unvaccinated doctors and nurses will lose their jobs for refusing a Covid-19 vaccine. 

The context of the post seems to be an upcoming public consultation which will inform the government’s decision on whether all healthcare staff should be vaccinated. NHS England said in July that this consultation will begin “shortly”. This consultation follows a decision by the government that all social care staff in England must be vaccinated by 11 November, unless they are exempt.

It should be noted that under existing plans social care staff won’t necessarily lose their job if they’re not vaccinated or exempt. As the government website says, staff are encouraged to explore other available options with their managers including moving to another role where vaccination is not required.  However there is little detail about the new consultation for healthcare staff including whether thousands of staff would lose their jobs following its outcome.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Full Fact the consultation is “due to launch shortly, pending clearances” but could not provide a launch date or any other details. 

Figures suggest the majority of healthcare staff have been vaccinated.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in February found in a survey of 20,370 of its members, 96% of staff offered a vaccine had received at least one dose and more recent work by the British Medical Association (BMA) found 85% of surveyed members said they’d received both doses, although these survey results may not be representative of the membership of either the RCN or the BMA and so should be treated with caution. 

The RCN said its position on mandatory vaccines is that while all members of its nursing team “should have any vaccine deemed necessary to help protect themselves their patients and their wider community” there were “serious concerns around mandating vaccines” and that it did not support “staff being made or coerced into having the vaccine.”

BMA Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said “While some healthcare workers already need to be immunised or show they are not infectious with other diseases to work in certain areas, any specific proposal for the compulsory vaccination of healthcare staff against Covid-19 would raise new ethical and legal implications.”

A spokesperson for the Independent Healthcare Provider Network, which represents private healthcare providers, also confirmed it was not aware of “any independent providers who sought to make vaccines mandatory for their staff in advance of that consultation.”

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because while a consultation into making vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers is due to be launched, we don’t know what it will recommend.

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