Hundreds of Bucks Healthcare staff still not vaccinated against Covid-19

Government rules mean NHS staff must receive a first jab by February 3 and be fully vaccinated by April 1 to continue working in frontline roles

By Joanna Morris, Data Reporter
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:24 pm

Hundreds of workers at Buckinghamshire's healthcare trust are still not vaccinated against Covid-19, figures suggest.

Across England, millions of people have been triple jabbed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – but tens of thousands of NHS staff are yet to have a first dose.

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust provides services from Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals, five community hospitals at Amersham, Buckingham, Chalfonts and Gerrards Cross, Marlow and Thame, a number of community sites across the county, and in patients’ own homes.

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Across England, more than 85,000 were still unvaccinated by December 31

NHS England data shows that 95 per cent of the 6,380 healthcare workers at Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust had received at least one vaccination by the end of December, meaning 305 were unvaccinated at that point.

The figures also show 5,898 workers had received two jabs – 92 per cent of staff – and 5,070 had received a booster dose (79 per cent).

The government's mandatory vaccination rules mean that NHS staff must receive a first jab by February 3 and be fully vaccinated by April 1 to continue working in frontline roles.

Despite widespread protests and calls to delay the policy, the Department for Health and Social Care says there are no plans to extend the deadline and that ensuring staff are vaccinated is the "right thing to do".

The Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nursing have encouraged the take-up of vaccinations among NHS workers but are among those who have expressed concern over the rapidly approaching deadline.

Mandatory jabs could have a significant impact on staff retention and put further pressure on the NHS while marginalising the vaccine hesitant, according to the RCN.

The NHS Confederation, which represents the whole healthcare system, said there were risks as well as benefits to a mandatory approach.

Chief executive Danny Mortimer said: "Most health leaders support the introduction of a mandate as it reflects the positive impact that vaccination will continue to have against coronavirus, but they would have preferred longer to implement the policy, particularly given the intensity of winter.

"While the majority of health and care workers have been vaccinated, even small reductions in staffing numbers can cause disruption.

"No leader wants to see this, given the high standards of care they wish to maintain, the significant vacancies that exist across the NHS already, and the care backlogs that have built up during the pandemic."

Across England, 94 per cent of healthcare workers had received at least one vaccination by December 31, meaning more than 85,000 were still unvaccinated at this point.

Nearly three-quarters of staff have received a booster jab nationally.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Health and social care workers look after the most vulnerable people in society, who could face serious health consequences if exposed to the virus.

"Ensuring staff are vaccinated is the right thing to do to protect patients and those in care.

"The vast majority of NHS staff have had the vaccine which is our best defence against Covid-19.”

The data is limited to healthcare workers who appear in the NHS electronic staff record who could be matched to the National Immunisation Management System – meaning some bank staff could be included in the figures.