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Jobs at risk with more than 200 Cambridge University Hospitals staff still unvaccinated against Covid-19 as deadline looms

More than 200 staff at Cambridge University Hospitals have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19 - meaning their jobs could be at risk by April.

All frontline workers who have face to face contact with patients will be required to have had two doses of a Covid vaccine by April 1, subject to exemptions, under government rules.

Addenbrooke's Hospital Picture: Keith Heppell (54309301)
Addenbrooke's Hospital Picture: Keith Heppell (54309301)

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

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 encourage vaccinatation before the deadline.

Currently, 96.2 per cent of staff employed by the trust have had their jabs.

At a meeting of the trust’s board on Thursday (January 20), David Wherrett, the director of workforce, revealed that 30 staff members have said they will not get vaccinated, and 200 have yet to confirm whether they will.

“We have worked really hard on our core message around protecting staff and keeping patients safe,” he said.

“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.

A Covid-19 vaccine
A Covid-19 vaccine

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

He added that efforts are also continuing to ensure 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.

February 3 is the deadline for a staff member to have their first dose in order to have received both by the April 1 deadline.

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. He warned that while work will continue to persuade them, it may not change everyone’s position.

However, he said the data is “improving all the time” and hoped that the number not vaccinated by April 1 will not be “anywhere near 200”.

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