With the Government U-turn on mandatory vaccination for health and care staff, regulators have been issuing statements on the issue.
The Government is consulting on revoking the regulations that make vaccination against COVID-19 a condition of deployment for health and social care workers in England, based on the latest emerging evidence.
In response, the UK’s healthcare regulators have issued statements in relation to the Government consultation. Consensus appear to be that solely turning down a vaccination would, in itself, not form the basis of a fitness to practise referral.
A joint statement from the GMC and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said:
“While the GMC does not consider that solely turning down vaccination would in itself form the basis of a fitness to practise referral, doctors have a professional duty to protect patients from risks posed by their health, and to be immunised against common serious communicable diseases, unless contraindicated.”
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said:
“Any professional with concerns about vaccination should seek advice and support, for example from their GP, occupational health team, employer or trade union. Employers should work collaboratively with professionals who are seeking more information or support around vaccination. We do not consider that solely turning down Covid-19 vaccinations is a basis for a Fitness to Practise referral.”
Whilst solely turning down a vaccination would, in itself, not form the basis of a fitness to practise referral, the UK’s healthcare regulators have been clear that the various Codes, guidance and standards that apply makes clear that health and care professionals must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues and not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer, or colleague at unacceptable risk.
On this basis, healthcare regulators continue to urge their registrants to get fully vaccinated.