Almost 1,000 Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust staff unvaccinated
Health secretary has hinted at mandatory jabs for frontline NHS workers
Almost 1,000 health care workers at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust are yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine, figures show.
The Government is soon to announce its decision on whether to make vaccines mandatory for frontline NHS staff, though several leading health bodies have cautioned against doing so.
NHS England figures published for the first time show that of the 9,376 health care workers at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 8,454 (90.2 per cent) had been given their first dose of the vaccine by the end of September.
This is on par with the average for NHS trusts across England, and means 922 workers are still unvaccinated.
The figures also show 8,053 (85.9 per cent) had received both doses at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Across England, 110,000 healthcare workers have not had a vaccine.
Around 92.4 per cent of staff have had at least one dose, and 89 per cent both, though rates vary significantly at NHS Trusts across the country.
Just 84.2 per cent of workers at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have had at least one jab, compared to 97.1 per cent at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust.
A government consultation on whether to make vaccines mandatory for health workers closes on October 22. It also questions whether flu vaccines should be a requirement.
The Royal College of GPs strongly urged all health and care professionals to be vaccinated, saying it will help protect them, their colleagues and their patients from contracting Covid-19.
However, Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, added: "Whilst we understand the desire of some people to make vaccination mandatory, we don’t agree with it as informed and educated choices about health interventions would be more beneficial long-term than enforcing them, which risks leading to resentment and mistrust.
"There are also workforce implications to consider at a time when we need as many people as possible working in general practice and across the health and care sectors delivering essential patient care and services."
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Where uptake needs to increase, leaders are working with their teams ensuring they are fully supported.
"Making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for frontline workers could have its advantages in the NHS but the Government needs to carry out a full risk assessment including timeframes to ensure there was no adverse impact on staff retention and recruitment at a time when the NHS is facing significant demand for its services.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “We continue to encourage the small minority of NHS staff who have not yet been jabbed to consider getting vaccinated to protect both themselves and patients.”
Separate figures from NHS Digital show staff have taken 7.7 million sick days since the start of the pandemic because of coronavirus.
At Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust the equivalent of 139,622 full-time staff days were lost due to sickness between March 2020 and May this year.
Of these, 26,775 (19 per cent) were because of Covid-19.