Covid vaccination as a condition of deployment for frontline health and social care workers in England
The DHSC has confirmed that health and social care providers in England will be required to ensure workers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no later than 1 April 2022.
The DHSC said that the new requirements will apply to health and social care workers who have direct, face-to-face contact with people while providing care – such as doctors and dentists and patient-facing ancillary staff, unless they are medically exempt.
The DHSC is currently saying this will only apply to Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated providers, which would not include most community optical practices. However, NHSE-I is has said it is working with NHS Employers and DHSC to develop detailed implementation guidance and this may change as the guidance is worked up.
Either way, other Infection Prevention and Control (IPCs) measures as recommended by the College of Optometrist and ABDO will continue to apply.
The College has already expressed its disappointment that DHSC has not taken on board its advice regarding hospital optometrists who are definitely covered by the new requirements.
FODO is working closely with the College and other optical bodies on this and will keep members informed as the situation become clearer.
A familiar conundrum for Optics Uk, whether we are Optics Retail or Optics Primary Health Care. Similar situation has occurred before with our dislike for CQC rulings or governance and yet some would say we will only be accepted as truly a Primary Health Care service if we accept the undoubted additional strictures that CQC would bring. Yet are we not moving ever closer with the new CPD training curriculum in January 2020.
Balanced on the other side of the argument, namely Optics Retail, if all our staff are subject to mandatory vaccination, where does that leave the retail sector on the High Street?