Care bosses have today urged the Government to apologise to thousands of staff who lost their job after Sajid Javid confirmed he intends to scrap the controversial vaccine mandate.

The Health Secretary last night performed a U-turn on the ‘no jab, no job’ rule after warnings that it would lead to crippling staff shortages, with roughly 80,000 NHS employees facing the sack. 

He told MPs it was ‘no longer proportionate’ to require staff to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

But the mandate, which led to 40,000 unvaccinated care workers being fired when it was enforced in social care settings in November, will only be ditched pending a consultation over the next few weeks. 

Vic Rayner, the chief executive of the National Care Forum, has today called for the Government to apologise.

She said carers were the ‘unwitting guinea pigs’ of the policy and the impact on both providers and staff ‘must not be swept under the carpet’. Care homes were already short of 100,000 workers before the pandemic, and there are concerns many sacked workers will never return.

Niccii Gillett, a care home manager who lost a sixth of her staff due to the mandate, said an apology is the ‘least that can be done’.

Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, said the Government has treated social care staff ‘appallingly’ and apologising is ‘the very least the Government can do’.

Mr Javid told MPs the policy could be ditched because there is now higher levels of protection against Covid among the public, compared to when the policy was first introduced.

And Omicron is ‘intrinsically less severe’ than Delta, which was dominant when the rule was announced, he added.

But Mr Javid said the mandate was the ‘right policy at the time, supported by clinical evidence and the Government makes no apology for it’.  

NHS England officials last night scrambled to inform local leaders to halt all plans to dismiss unvaccinated employees. They would have needed to get their first vaccine by February 3 in order to meet the April 1 deadline.

Niccii Gillett (pictured), a care home manager who lost a sixth of her staff due to the mandate, said an apology is the 'least that can be done' after thousands lost their jobs.

Niccii Gillett (pictured), a care home manager who lost a sixth of her staff due to the mandate, said an apology is the 'least that can be done' after thousands lost their jobs.

Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, said the Government has treated social care staff 'appallingly' and apologising is 'the very least the Government can do'.

Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, said the Government has treated social care staff 'appallingly' and apologising is 'the very least the Government can do'.

Niccii Gillett (pictured left), a care home manager who lost a sixth of her staff due to the mandate, said an apology is the ‘least that can be done’ after thousands lost their jobs.  Christina McAnea (pictured right), the general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, said the Government has treated social care staff ‘appallingly’ and apologising is ‘the very least the Government can do’

The Health Secretary (pictured in the Commons last night) said he believes the requirement is ‘no longer proportionate’ as he confirmed the widely rumoured move in the Commons tonight. But the ‘no jab, no job policy’ will only be ditched pending a consultation, meaning thousands of unvaccinated carers will still be banned from taking up old jobs for now.

The Health Secretary (pictured in the Commons last night) said he believes the requirement is ‘no longer proportionate’ as he confirmed the widely rumoured move in the Commons tonight. But the ‘no jab, no job policy’ will only be ditched pending a consultation, meaning thousands of unvaccinated carers will still be banned from taking up old jobs for now.

The Health Secretary (pictured in the Commons last night) said he believes the requirement is ‘no longer proportionate’ as he confirmed the widely rumoured move in the Commons tonight. But the ‘no jab, no job policy’ will only be ditched pending a consultation, meaning thousands of unvaccinated carers will still be banned from taking up old jobs for now.

Sajid Javid confirms U-turn on NHS Covid vaccine mandate because controversial policy is ‘no longer proportionate’ 

Sajid Javid last night confirmed the Government’s intention to drop the controversial Covid vaccine mandate for NHS and care staff.

The Health Secretary said he believes the requirement is ‘no longer proportionate’ as he confirmed the widely rumoured move in the Commons.

But the ‘no jab, no job policy’ will only be ditched pending a consultation, meaning thousands of unvaccinated carers may still be banned from taking up old jobs for now.

It is unclear how it will affect the 80,000 unvaccinated NHS staff, who would need to get their first jab by February 3 in order to meet the April 1 deadline. 

Mr Javid said the U-turn was motivated by higher levels of protection against Covid among the public and Omicron being ‘intrinsically less severe’ than Delta, which was dominant when the policy was announced.

Mr Javid told the Commons: ‘Subject to the responses and the will of this house, the Government will revoke the regulations.

‘I have always been clear that our rules must remain proportionate and balanced, and of course, should we see another dramatic change in the virus, it would be only responsible to review this policy again.’ 

And he said the vaccine mandate was the ‘right policy at the time, supported by clinical evidence and the Government makes no apology for it’.

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The Health Secretary said the Government will revoke the vaccine requirement for health and social care workers, depending on the outcome of the consultation. 

However, Mr Javid noted that ‘rules must remain proportionate and balanced’ and if there is ‘another dramatic change in the virus, it would be responsible to review this policy again’.

He said he has asked the NHS to take vaccination status into account when hiring medics, warning ‘everyone working in health and social care has a professional duty to be vaccinated against Covid’. 

NHS England last night wrote to local leaders telling them not to serve notice of termination to unvaccinated employees. 

Trusts had been preparing to meet with unjabbed medics on Friday to ask them to work their notice period until March 31.  

The same rules came into force in care homes in November. 

Ms Rayner, boss of the NCF, said: ‘The Government must apologise to the social care staff who have lost their jobs and to the people receiving care and support who have had to watch relationships they cherish being severed abruptly as a direct result of this policy.’

Ministers must also say sorry to the social care providers who ‘invested significant time, energy and resources into implementing a chaotic policy that is now considered obsolete’, she added.

Ms Gillett, manager of Elmfield House Residential Home in Woking, said there were ‘a lot of tears’ when six of her 36 employees left, and that three months on residents still ask about how they are doing.

The 37-year-old said: ‘I do feel that the decision was a mistake and I do think the Government should apologise.

‘It doesn’t change anything but it just acknowledges the stress that it’s caused to a number of people, probably every care home in the country, to huge thousands and thousands of care workers. 

‘I think an apology is the least that can be done.’

She added: ‘And in health and social care we talk a lot about reflection, learning from mistakes, and if we’re expected to do that when we make mistakes, then I do strongly feel the Government should issue an apology, and reflect on the reasons behind it, and hopefully going forward not make such rash decisions again.’

Ms Gillett said one former staff member, now working in hospitality, asked if there are any guarantees that the mandate will not return.

Mr Javid, when announcing the policy change, said it would be ‘only responsible’ to review the vaccine requirement in future if there was a dramatic change in the virus.

Ms Gillett said: ‘You can’t just ask these staff to come back – they’ve found other jobs.

But now, ministers are set to scrap the plan after one in 20 NHS staff – the equivalent of 77,591 people – have still not had their first jab. In London, one in ten staff are unvaccinated

‘Also I think there would be an element of mistrust. If they do come back to the care profession, how do you know it’s not going to be mandated again next winter or in two, three years’ time?

‘I think that’s the worry – now that it’s been done once, will it stay how it is or will new legislation come in time that impact their ability to work?’ 

Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, said the Government has treated social care staff ‘appallingly’ and apologising is ‘the very least the Government can do’.

She said: ‘The Government must single-handedly take the blame for aggravating the staffing crisis and pushing care homes to the brink.

‘It’s simply not good enough for the Health Secretary to say sacked workers can return to care homes if they like.

‘Thousands of dedicated and experienced staff have been lost to the sector. Most will never return because they have found less stressful, better paid work.’ 

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