Julian hails government U-turn on mandatory NHS worker vaccination
February 1, 2022
As someone who voted against the government’s proposal for mandatory vaccination for frontline NHS staff, I warmly welcome the Health Secretary’s announcement yesterday that he will now consult on ending this.
I am glad he seems to be listening to Conservative MPs like me who resisted the imposition of the policy in December, and expect to see this change implemented in full.
Given the risk of an exodus of experienced staff, this policy should never have been introduced. Although I strongly support vaccination, we simply cannot afford to lose frontline healthcare workers on this issue, and the fact some 94% of York NHS employees are now vaccinated proves the necessary workforce protection can be achieved through persuasion instead.
The government’s position was all the more disappointing given the astonishing success of the booster programme, through voluntary participation by the public. I am glad Ministers are now further retreating from the stifling controls that have characterised the pandemic, and want to see a consistent return to freedom across the board, as we support our public services in tackling the remaining covid threat.