MS calls for debate over unvaccinated NHS staff from England coming to work in Wales
A Welsh MS has called for a debate over unvaccinated NHS staff seeking work in Wales after the April mandatory vaccine deadline comes into force in England.
Responding to reports that healthcare workers in England, who are unwilling to get vaccinated, would cross the border to Wales where a similar mandate is not in place, he also suggested the NHS in Wales may not employ unvaccinated healthcare staff from the other side of the border.
Mr Davies, the MS for Blaenau Gwent, tweeted: “I think we need a debate about this. It can’t be right that we simply accept people who have refused to take the minimum action needed to protect their patients in England for similar roles here. And to be fair I’m not sure that NHS Wales will simply accept them either.”
I think we need a debate about this.
It can’t be right that we simply accept people who have refused to take the minimum action needed to protect their patients in England for similar roles here.
And to be fair I’m not sure that NHS Wales will simply accept them either. https://t.co/DOLkooSCNu
— Alun Davies AS / MS 🏴 (@AlunDaviesMS) January 29, 2022
In November 2021, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that it would become compulsory for frontline NHS staff in England to have had two Covid vaccinations unless they have a medical exemption.
In Wales, however, vaccines for NHS staff are not compulsory and First Minister Mark Drakeford said last week that he would “not rule out” recruiting NHS workers from England who leave their jobs due to the mandatory vaccination policy.
NHS staff in England must have a first jab by 3 February and be fully vaccinated by 1 April to continue in patient facing roles, and while there is some speculation that the decision will be reconsidered or the deadline will be delayed to avoid losing staff, some frontline staff from England are considering their options.
In an interview with BBC’s Newsbeat, Chloe, a dental therapist in Plymouth admitted that she is considering applying for work in Wales, but felt that having spent years in training, she shouldn’t have to choose between her job and a vaccination.
She said: “I don’t think it’s very fair that just across the border in Wales – a mile long bridge – the laws are going to be completely different.”
Maria, a midwife from London, claims that moving is a sacrifice she would be willing to make, and is looking into living in England and working across the border in Wales.
Insisting that she is not anti-vaccination, she explained that her decision is based on being opposed to vaccine mandates and feels it “violates the principles of bodily integrity and informed consent – central to the care I give to women”.
She says she decided not to get the Covid jab after considering “the risk of Covid to me, versus the risk of the vaccine”, and because she doesn’t believe vaccination stops transmission to patients.
According to studies, risks of infection with Covid are much greater than the risks of vaccines, which reduce the risk of severe illness.
The latest data from UK Health Security Agency shows that vaccinated women “had a very similar low risk of stillbirth, low birthweight and premature birth compared to women who were not vaccinated in pregnancy.”
Previous studies have shown the risk of being severely ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) is higher for unvaccinated women and the NHS strongly recommends that strongly recommends vaccination for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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