Vaccines being mandatory for NHS staff a 'difficult' situation, says Suffolk GP

Vaccine

Dr Richard West MBE said he would have to have a difficult conversation if a staff member said they did not want to have the vaccine and weren't medically exempt - Credit: Phil Morley/PA

The potential reversal of the vaccine mandate for NHS workers has been described as a "difficult" situation by a Suffolk GP.

Currently all NHS workers will have to be vaccinated or face losing their job by April 1.

Sajid Javid, the health secretary

Sajid Javid, the health secretary - Credit: PA

Earlier this week health secretary Sajid Javid told the Houses of Commons that it he would be launching a consultation to look at ending being vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment for health and social care workers.

Back in November care sector staff faced the same situation and it was followed through on, with unvaccinated staff having to leave their jobs.

The Health Secretary said he believes the requirement is "no longer proportionate", but that vaccines are still the best defence against Covid-19.

Dr Richard West MBE from the Woolpit Health Centre said that he personally feels a duty to do his best not to do harm to his patients.

Dr Richard West MBE, organiser, at the mass vaccination centre at Newmarket Racecourse

Dr Richard West MBE has helped vaccinate thousands of people in Suffolk - Credit: Danielle Booden

Which includes not passing on infectious diseases, and he believes vaccination is one the best methods to prevent this from happening.

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"One needs to balance their rights against the rights of the patient and one needs to try protect everyone as best you can and keep our workforce together as much as possible," said Dr West.

He has been "a little surprised" by the number of people who haven't been vaccinated, especially given their success in the last century.

The GP acknowledges the vaccine has been rolled out quickly, but maintains the vaccines "are very very safe and much safer than the diseases".

He added: "Unfortunately the diseases affects everybody, you know there's been deaths at every age.

"I still think it's very sensible for everyone to be vaccinated."

While he has not found himself in this situation, if a staff member chose to not be vaccinated without medical reasons he said he would have to "have some very difficult conversations".

He continued: "A lot of our day job is doing vaccines whether it be children, adults or whatever else. So it seems a slightly odd environment to work in if you don't believe in it."

The Woolpit practitioner concluded that no one knows what the next variant may be, so it is best to be protected.

Are you an NHS worker who strongly thinks the vaccine mandate should or shouldn't be enforced?

Let me know: matt.powell@archant.co.uk