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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 February 2022

NHS mandatory vaccination to be ditched as Tories U-turn to avoid even deeper NHS crisis

Ministers have announced plans to scrap the order forcing all NHS staff in England to get vaccinated against Covid. Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the move in a statement to MPs on 31 January, just three days before the deadline for unvaccinated staff who have face-to-face contact with patients to get their first dose or be dismissed. Before the announcement, Naomi Byron, Unison rep and member of Unison's National Executive Council (personal capacity), spoke to the Socialist:

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

A House of Lords committee has estimated that 126,000 staff could leave the NHS, or be dismissed, because of the introduction of mandatory vaccinations. They also estimated that it would cost £270 million to recruit and train replacements for those staff.

The NHS is already chronically understaffed with around 100,000 vacancies; these levels of understaffing are affecting patient care and causing chronic exhaustion among many NHS staff. A Unison survey at the end of last year said that two-thirds of staff who responded were thinking about leaving the NHS. The top reason they gave was the effect that their work was having on their mental health.

In October, there were six million people, almost one in ten of the population, on waiting lists in England, and it keeps increasing.

In the care sector, where mandatory vaccination was introduced in the autumn, the Care Quality Commission is warning of a serious and deteriorating situation around staff recruitment and retention.

The vacancy rate in the care sector went up from 6% in April, to 11.5% at the end of December. It nearly doubled in the period when mandatory vaccination was introduced.

The government argues that this measure is about protecting public health. But we can't believe that the Tory government has public health at heart.

At the same time as they are planning to sack thousands of health workers, they are also passing the Health and Care Bill through parliament, which aims to entrench privatisation and continue the break-up of the NHS, including the potential of the break up of national pay bargaining.

The threat of dismissing staff if they don't get vaccinated is counter-productive. I believe that more people would take the vaccine if we continued the positive education programme about the benefits of the vaccine. By attacking a minority of NHS staff, around 90% of whom are already vaccinated, the government is seeking to blame workers for the NHS crisis, caused by years of government cuts and privatisation.

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In The Socialist 2 February 2022:


News

Tories attack UC recipients with 'get any job' threat

NHS mandatory vaccination to be ditched

NI rise piled onto shoulders of the lowest paid

Gas and electric bills set to soar by 50% this year

Covering basic costs is hard, and it's getting worse


International news

Ukraine: Workers' unity needed

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday 50 years on

School students strike in Austria

Coup d'état in Burkina Faso

France: Education workers and students walkout


TUSC

Tories Out!

Dave Nellist standing for Birmingham Erdington

Why a socialist candidate for Birmingham Erdington is vital

Hackney Unison to encourage anti-cuts candidates

Essex cuts racket must end

Portsmouth: Council workers leaving and tenants' double whammy

TUSC by-elections round-up


Workers fighting back

The winter strike wave escalates as workers fight back and win

NHS workers begin strike for 15% and against outsourcing

Victory at NewVIc college! 'The picket line gives us power'

Coventry bins: all-out against strike-breaking Labour council

Scunny scaffs strike restarts with a bang, barricades and a win!

PCS 2022 elections

Workplace news in brief


Campaigns news

Tories sinking, workers rising - help fund the socialist fightback

May Day Greetings: Back the paper that backs the working class

Why I joined: I'm tired of austerity and status quo

Socialist Students getting organised for 2 March walkout


Review

Belfast: Worth watching portrayal of previously airbrushed workers' unity


 

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Related links:

Vaccine:

triangleCanada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'

triangleEmployers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay

triangleTory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis

triangleTV review: Vaccine Wars: The Truth About Pfizer

triangleCovid-19: New variant emerges but same old capitalist disease

NHS:

triangleTV review: This is Going to Hurt

trianglePrivatisation and crisis in the NHS

triangleBarts NHS workers to walk out again on 28 February

triangleBarts NHS strike

Tories:

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

triangleTories' 'partygate' crisis continues - kick them out

triangleTories' 'levelling up' falls well short

Health:

triangleCuts created NHS waiting list crisis

triangleNI rise piled onto shoulders of the lowest paid

Government:

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

Unison:

triangleSocialist Party statement on Unison president Paul Holmes

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