Hundreds of hospital staff jobs under threat amid looming vaccine deadline

David Wherrett is the director of workforce at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

David Wherrett is the director of workforce at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. - Credit: Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Hundreds of staffs’ jobs at Cambridge’s hospitals are under threat as they are yet to confirm whether they have or will be vaccinated against coronavirus by the April deadline.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for Addenbrooke’s Hospital and The Rosie, has said it is still continuing to work with and support staff to get vaccinated before the mandatory vaccination deadline.

From April 1, any frontline workers who have face to face contact with patients, will be required to have had two doses of a covid vaccine, subject to exemptions.

This mandatory requirement not only applies to clinical staff, but also non-clinical staff who have contact with patients, such as cleaners, porters and receptionists.

Currently, 96.2 per cent of staff employed by the Trust have been vaccinated.

At a meeting of the Trust’s board of director’s meeting, David Wherrett, the director of workforce, said work is continuing to encourage staff to receive the vaccination.

He said: “We have worked really hard on our core message around protecting staff and keeping patients safe.

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“Work is still progressing to understand the position and support the position of our colleagues who have not had [the vaccine] so far.

“We’re asking are they intending to have the vaccine by March 31, are they intending to seek a medical exemption, do they believe the requirement does not apply to them.

“Where choices are made not to have the vaccine at all in a patient area, we can no longer deploy them, and we will look at redeployment, redesign of roles, or dismissal, at that point.

“It is a very sensitive process, these are colleagues who have worked immensely hard for us and with us for many years.

“Sadly this may result in dismissing colleagues who do not meet the requirement.”

Mr Wherrett told the meeting that currently 30 staff members have said they will not get vaccinated, and 200 have yet to confirm whether they will.

He added that work is also continuing to make sure those not directly employed by the Trust, but who have face to face contact with patients, such as students, and those contracted from universities, are also vaccinated.

With April 1, being the deadline for staff to have had both vaccine doses, February 3, is therefore the deadline for staff to have their first dose in order to have had both by the end of March.

Mr Wherrett told the meeting that the Trust has always been very clear they expect staff to take up the vaccine.

He explained that talking to some staff members, there is a group of people who hold “very strong views” that vaccination is not for them.

Mr Wherrett said that work will continue, but may not change everyone’s position.

However, he said the data is ‘improving all the time’, telling the meeting that he hopes the number not vaccinated by April 1, will not be “anywhere near 200”.