NELFT: Mandatory vaccines could hit East London staff

07.00 on 26 November 2021

The number of healthcare professionals in east London could be exposed to a “big hit” by making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory, an NHS leader has warned.

Nine out of ten employees have already been vaccinated at the North East London Foundation NHS Trust (NELFT), which provides community and mental health services in East London.

But by April 2022, nearly all of the trust’s 6,500 employees must be fully vaccinated following a government decision earlier this month.

This requirement can cause a significant decrease in the number of staff, said NELFT’s medical director, Dr. Caroline Allum, at a board meeting on Tuesday, November 23rd.

She said: “We sat down and did a big study on the effects of vaccinations; we went back to [NHS England] to say that we could see that there was a big hit on the staff side. ”

Government coercive measures apply to staff who have direct, face-to-face contact with patients while providing care, unless they are exempt.

Union representative Ubaidal Hoque asked members if they expressed their concerns enough.

He warned: “I think we will have an acute shortage of staff if we have no setback on the face of the earth.”

A report prepared for the board identifies staff levels as the highest risk the trust faces, adding that the “talent pipeline” does not produce enough healthcare staff.

NELFT’s CEO said when they opened the meeting that 88 percent of staff have been vaccinated and that the trust “works through guidance” on which employees may be exempt.

He added: “Our performance report shows that demand has increased, sharpness has increased, all in the context of a pressured workforce.

“It’s hard out there and many of our colleagues are tired.

“There is still real pressure on our services, it’s really important that we maintain our well-being and support for colleagues across the organization.”

The CEO of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) said earlier this month that some unvaccinated staff had “rational concerns” about jab.

Matthew Trainer said he had talked to women who were interested in the vaccine’s potential impact on their fertility.

“The other thing we have to realize is that some people are really a little bit scared of what it can do to them and how it can feel,” he said.

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