Doctors have raised concerns over the potential impact of mandatory Covid vaccinations for staff on the NHS and say that up to one in 20 could quit their jobs.

National government wants all health and social care workers who have direct face-to-face contact with people while providing care, including doctors, nurses, dentists, and care workers, to be double jabbed by April 1, 2022, unless they are exempt.

The rules will also apply to staff such as porters or receptionists who may have social contact with patients.

Dr Alan Cohen, co-opted on to the Oxfordshire Joint Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee, requested information on what ratio of staff in the county could be affected and what the impact would be if they decide not to take the jabs.

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He said: “That risk is clearly going to be significant, especially at a time when we are so pressed for sufficient numbers in our workforce.”

He added: “Are we going to be making it even worse by staff leaving because they choose not to be vaccinated?”

Jo Cogsworth, director of transformation on the board of Oxfordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As system partners we are working together in support of our trust colleagues so they can undertake reviews of which staff have been vaccinated already, which have not yet and how we can support, encourage and answer questions, queries and concerns that staff have as to why they have not been vaccinated. 

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“The last time we looked at it, vaccination rates amongst our provider trusts were very good but you are quite right, and we are working on what the likely impact will be.”

She confirmed that current guidance advises those who have not had their vaccine will need to have their first jab by February 3.

She added that Dr Cohen’s request for specific data would be followed up.

Dr Cohen said: “The figures I have heard are that some 10 per cent of the staff are not vaccinated with a potential for half of those to leave the NHS which would be a five per cent reduction in the workforce.

“I think that would be very significant for a workforce that is already overstretched.”

Oxfordshire’s CCG works with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which oversees four hospitals – John Radcliffe Hospital, The Churchill Hospital and Nuffield Orthopeadic Centre in Oxford and Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

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