Doctors who employ staff have been promised support from the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), as they implement Government requirements for Covid-19 vaccinations for employees from 1 April.
These will be mandatory for all healthcare workers who have ‘direct face-to-face contact’ with patients, including non-clinical staff such as receptionists and cleaners.
Writing for Independent Practitioner Today, the IHPN’s director of regulation says the organisation will support providers and practitioners to ensure the sector is fully prepared to implement mandatory vaccines.
Dawn Hodgkins assures doctors the network is working to ensure that guidance is fully applicable to the independent sector and provides a clear and usable framework.
This will include consideration of staff groups included in the policy as well as clarity over medical and other exemptions.
She adds: ‘Acknowledging the diversity of the independent healthcare sector, a particular focus of this work will be to influence policy development so that any guidance is also appropriate for non-hospital-based services.
‘This includes independent practitioners delivering primary and community care where there may be further complexities in implementing the policy.’
IHPN aims to help share good practice among independent providers and practitioners and the wider health system around increasing vaccine uptake among staff and resolving operational issues relating to the policy.
‘This will help ensure the sector is as fully prepared as possible ahead of 3 February, which is the last date that a member of staff can have their first vaccination ahead of a 1 April implementation date,’ she says.
Solicitors Hempsons have advised employers to note that doctors’ professional obligations in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice include: ‘You should be immunised against common serious communicable diseases (unless otherwise contraindicated).’