Meanwhile, evidence is mounting of the long-term consequences of quarantining the country during lockdown. There were warnings at the time that keeping people under a form of house arrest would lead to rising loneliness, mental illness, domestic abuse and childhood obesity; a growing school attainment divide between pupils from rich and poor homes; an increase in hospital waiting lists and a rise in undiagnosed cases of cancer. All of which have come to pass. Only last month, for example, a report by the House of Commons Library expressed concern that the estimated rate of absence from school in the current academic year was 7.8% – compared with 4.8% in 2019-20.
Much of the hunger literature talks about how it is important to assure that people are well fed so that they can be more productive. That is nonsense. No one works harder than hungry people. Yes, people who are well nourished have greater capacity for productive physical activity, but well-nourished people are far less willing to do that work.
Medical regulators must crack down on unvaccinated staff, the health secretary has said as he tries to deal with the fallout from abandoning compulsory jabs.
Sajid Javid has rebuked regulators and demanded that they send a “clear message” to healthcare workers that they must get a coronavirus vaccine.
In a blog post, John Lewis group operations director Andrew Murphy told staff – whom it calls partners – across its department stores and Waitrose grocers: ‘We just don’t believe it’s right to create a link between a partner’s vaccination status and the pay they receive.
‘When life increasingly seems to present opportunities to create division – and with hopes rising that the pandemic phase of Covid may be coming to an end – we’re confident that this is the right approach.’
He said John Lewis ‘cast no judgment’ on other businesses and that the pandemic had often left firms with ‘just a choice between a range of unappealing options.’
Doctors are among the health workers least likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19, while fitness instructors, artists and waiters have some of the highest unjabbed rates overall.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show vaccination rates by profession at the end of last year. The data provides an early indication of which parts of the NHS and social care workforce could be hardest hit by the compulsory vaccination rule that comes into force in April.
We’re conscious that some businesses have changed their sick pay policy with regard to unvaccinated employees in some Covid related absence scenarios.
At the John Lewis Partnership we’re not going to make any change of this type.
We’re hugely supportive of the UK vaccination programme (we give ‘free’ time off to all Partners to get their vaccination and we’ve provided our Bracknell sports hall to the NHS as a vaccination centre since the very start of the jab roll-out, providing 160,000 jabs). We just don’t believe it’s right to create a link between a Partner’s vaccination status and the pay they receive.
Leadership teams from every business have had to work incredibly hard to navigate the Covid years. There has been no map, guidebook or training programme to help anyone find the best way through. Very often, there’s just a choice between a range of unappealing options.
We cast no judgement on the decisions of any other organisation, in fact we’ve enjoyed how united businesses – retailers especially – have been in the face of these huge corporate and societal challenges. However, when life increasingly seems to present opportunities to create division – and with hopes rising that the pandemic phase of Covid may be coming to an end – we’re confident that this is the right approach for us.
Ocado has announced it is cutting sick pay for unvaccinated staff who must self-isolate due to exposure to Covid-19.
According to the BBC, the online grocer will continue to offer full sick pay if unvaccinated workers test positive for the virus but will reduce sick pay for exposure related isolation.
HEE is an executive non-departmental public body of DHSC, responsible for co-ordination of education and training within the health and public health workforce within England, including the training of doctors and nurses.
NHS Digital is a non-departmental public body responsible for the information, data and IT systems for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care in England.
NHSX is a joint unit of NHS England and DHSC, supporting local NHS and care organisations to digitise their services, connect the health and social care systems through technology and transform the way patients’ care is delivered at home, in the community and in hospital.
A power to enable formal legal mergers of DHSC’s arm’s length bodies is currently being considered by Parliament as part of the Health and Care Bill. The formal merger of HEE and NHSE/I is therefore subject to Parliament’s approval of that measure, expected in summer 2022.
NHS Digital and NHSX will form part of the new Transformation Directorate within NHSE alongside Improvement, and Innovation, Research and Life Sciences.
The NHSE/I Transformation Directorate will continue to lead the digital transformation agenda for the NHS and social care at national and ICS level.
NHSX will evolve into the strategy function of the Transformation Directorate.
Almost half of all NHS staff are managers, administrators or unqualified assistants, it has emerged, as Boris Johnson came under pressure to insist on health service reforms as the price of increased funding.
The proportion of clinical staff who are professionally trained has declined from 55.5 per cent in 2013 to just 52.5 per cent now, meaning 47.5 per cent of staff have no medical qualifications.
Worsening supermarket food shortages are now “inevitable” in the coming weeks as labour shortages across the food supply chain approach crunch point, the sector has warned.
Chronic driver shortages have been compounded by shortfalls across other low-paid sectors including harvesting, manufacturing and packaging, and the supply chain is creaking under the pressure.
But the time has come when the hard choices are looming closer. If we don’t want this Covid crisis to last forever, we need some new simple, guidelines: No jab, no job; no jab, no access to NHS healthcare; no jab, no state education for your kids. No jab, no access to pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, stadiums. No jab, no entry to the UK, and much else.
Health and social care workers who felt under greater pressure from their employers to receive COVID-19 vaccination were more likely to decline it, according to preliminary new research highlighting factors influencing uptake.
Keynote by Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist, NASA Langley on the major issues facing humans & society indicating where water fits in and explicating the water solution spaces and potential silver bullets, including Frontier/ Revolutionary energetics, advanced nano-technology and the use of salt loving plants, Halophytes, for Global Food Production.
Making the jab mandatory or pressurising employees to have it could lead to criminal implications, says David Sheppard
There are no statutory provisions that could force individuals to become vaccinated. The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 specifically states that members of the public should not be compelled to undergo any mandatory medical treatment, including vaccinations.
If any government of the UK were to insist on compulsory vaccination, it could feasibly give rise to objections on the grounds of individual liberty and human rights. This is owing to article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects people from being interfered with physically or psychologically and includes mandatory vaccinations.
Can businesses force employees to vaccinate?
In short, no. In theory, if there is a thorough medical examinations clause in a contract of employment, it could be relied upon. However, this would still be fraught with risk, and freely given consent is required for any medical intervention.
A decade of painstaking fiscal repair-work was undone within the first few hours; and that was just the start. The direct cost of Britain’s stimulus package is £70 billion which, as Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, confirmed on Friday, is considerably higher than in other countries.
The indirect costs are harder to assess, but will surely be gargantuan. The first nine days of the crisis pushed half a million more people onto the dole, wiping out five years of rising employment. With every day that our shops remain shut, the benefits bill will rise – just as tax revenues dry up.
I don’t think we yet understand how vast a hit we are taking. It has become commonplace to compare the coronavirus to the Second World War, but our domestic economy continued to function even at the height of the Blitz. Shops, pubs and schools stayed open, and cinemas were closed for only two weeks.