Over the last few weeks, we have heard bitter complaints from unions and operators in the UK that mandatory vaccinations will lead to an exodus of staff and make some services untenable. Their concerns may be overblown but they are right to feel aggrieved – Greece’s unvaccinated healthcare staff have just lost their pay.
The UK’s care home workers have until September 16 to get their first dose if they are to be fully vaccinated when the new regulations come into force on November 11. Time has already run out for staff in Greece who from the beginning of this month will lose their salaries if they are not vaccinated.
We hear that warnings of a “catastrophe” and “exodus” from the care sector might be overblown, given that 90.6% of staff have already had one dose and 81.6% have had both doses. Furthermore, operators in Italy which introduced a mandatory vaccination policy much earlier have reported no major staff losses.
But in an already overstretched workforce, taking away salaries is unlikely to convince healthcare staff that their work is valued. Rather than getting jabbed, many may choose to leave the sector forever.
Operators and unions in the UK do also have a right to feel aggrieved over the mandatory vaccination policy. They will likely lose staff to the NHS, which has not been singled out in the same way despite the fact that it’s easier to deploy people in a huge healthcare system than a care home.
In the NHS, vaccine refuseniks are likely to lead to job shuffling and annoying bureaucracy, while in care homes it means job losses and staff shortages.
Greece – once it starts suspending the 17% of healthcare staff without pay – will have to deal with both.
We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to James Elliott or call 0207 183 3779.