NHS workers could be deployed for their own protection.
Under new plans, hospitals and other NHS organisations can consider redeploying staff who refuse or are unable to have to have the Covid-19 vaccine.
A new NHS document published on Friday reveals the steps NHS organisations should take to ensure their employees are protected from the virus.
This includes ensuring they have access to the Covid vaccine, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and mask fit testing, infection control training, and an up-to-date Covid risk assessment.
It also suggests that if staff continue to be high-risk they could be redeployed to a “less exposure-prone setting” for their own protection.
The document reads; “In addition to the above, if the risk to the member of staff, their colleagues or patients is still very significant, they could be moved into a less exposure-prone setting as an option.
“These sensitive conversations may require input from local trade union representatives and HR.”
Vaccination will help protect staff.
Helen Donovan, professional lead for public health nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “No-one can be forced to have any medical treatment – this includes vaccines. The UK governments are not making it mandatory for health and social care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Staff should to be offered every opportunity to access vaccination. They also need to be able to make the decision to have the vaccine in a supportive environment with the right information, encouragement and a clear explanation of its benefit and value.
“Vaccination will help protect nurses and healthcare workers from serious disease and help protect them from transmitting infection to others. Staff who are not vaccinated may also present a risk to patients or clients as a result.
“Employers must demonstrate the rigorous risk assessments they have carried out and the evidence of how a different role would mitigate the risks. Redeployment is not a simple ‘one size fits all’ solution and employers must examine it with the individual on a factual risk basis. We will be closely examining how employers respond in this area.”