10 November 2021
Read the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice’s joint statement on the Government’s decision to make COVID-19 vaccines compulsory for NHS staff.
The UK Government has announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be compulsory for all NHS staff in England from April 2022.
While the RCSLT and ASLTIP recommend vaccination for all eligible members, we are concerned about mandated vaccinations for NHS staff in England for a number of reasons:
- We are concerned that vaccination will be relied on to protect vulnerable patients and staff despite evidence that vaccinated staff can carry and transmit the virus. PPE and infection control measures remain the best defence for the vulnerable and PPE should continue to be provided without restriction to NHS staff who require it.
- Compulsion has led to lower trust in public health advice elsewhere and the World Health Organisation policy endorses voluntary vaccination as the best solution rather than mandating vaccination.
- The penalties associated with non-compliance are likely to affect already marginalised groups disproportionately, including people with protected characteristics as set out in the 2010 Equality Act.
It is worth noting that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not planning to mandate vaccination.
We will support and advise members as much as possible once we have further details about how the Government intends to implement their decision.
We encourage members to seek advice from their union if they have concerns.
Read the Government’s press release about the announcement for more information.