Supporting vaccination, but not mandates – a welcome decision

Publication date: 01 February 2022

The College supports the decision by the Government not to require mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for NHS staff.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.

“The College is strongly supportive of Covid-19 vaccination. It is the best protection we have against the virus, and we would urge all NHS to get vaccination. But, in common with many other health organisations, we have always opposed mandatory vaccinations as a term of employment in the NHS – this is why we called for a delay to this plan, and as such the Government’s decision today is welcome.

“Making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory would have had severe workforce implications at a time when general practice, and the wider NHS, is experiencing enormous workforce and workload pressures. We simply can’t afford to lose highly-trained staff in general practice when we need as many as possible delivering patient care.

“Our view is that informed and educated choice about health interventions are more beneficial, long-term, than mandates, which risk leading to resentment and mistrust. This change in direction will allow more time to address concerns and hesitancies that unvaccinated people working in the NHS may have about getting vaccinated and encourage them to think otherwise.

“The vast majority of health professionals have been vaccinated. For those that haven’t yet, we would strongly encourage them to do so, unless there is a medical reason why they shouldn’t. The Covid-19 vaccine is our most important tool in protecting ourselves and others from the virus and all vaccines that we’re currently using in the UK have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and effective.”

Further Information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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