RCM calls for immediate delay to NHS staff mandatory vaccination plans
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for an immediate delay to Government plans for mandatory COVID vaccination of NHS staff in England, fearing a catastrophic impact on maternity services. Under current regulations, introduced late last year, all patient-facing NHS staff must be fully vaccinated by 1 April 2022, unless exempt, or risk losing their jobs. That means that staff who are currently unvaccinated would need to have had their first dose by 3 February to comply.
NHS app to helps families eat healthily
The Guardian has reported that Public health minister Maggie Throup has announced that an updated NHS app will help families switch to healthier food as part of the Better Health campaign and to tackle high levels of childhood obesity. The NHS Food Scanner app will be able to scan product barcodes to bring up information about the food’s nutritional content – and will now suggest healthier alternatives. Ms Throup said: “The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.”
Government set to scrap free lateral flow tests
The Times has reported that the Government is reportedly set to end the universal distribution of free lateral flow tests for COVID-19, with free tests to be reserved for high-risk settings like care homes, schools and hospitals, and for those showing symptoms of the virus. A senior Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that it is “likely we will move to a scenario where there is less testing but where we have a capacity to ramp it up if necessary, such as in the winter”, while contact tracing by NHS Test and Trace is also likely to be scaled back. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, warned against the move, saying it would be an “utterly wrongheaded” move and raising concerns about the implications for devolved nations’ testing budgets under the Barnett formula.
Covid: Armed Forces send 200 personnel to support the NHS in London
The BBC has reported that the Armed Forces have sent 200 personnel into NHS hospitals across London to plug staff shortages. The Ministry of Defence will provide 40 defence medics and 160 general duty personnel for the next three weeks.
Rule change for asymptomatic people who receive positive lateral flow
Nursing Times has reported that covid-19 testing rules for people without symptoms in England are being temporarily relaxed, as cases continue to soar following the emergence of the Omicron variant. From 11 January, asymptomatic people who test positive on a lateral flow device (LFD) will no longer be required to confirm their result with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
NHS to begin the move to dismiss staff who refuse Covid19 vaccine or redeployment
The Government stated in 2021 that all patient-facing NHS staff would need to have received both their first and second doses by April 2022. This would require staff to have received their first dose of the Covid19 vaccine no later than 3 February. The HSJ has reported that NHS trusts will be told next week how they should go about dismissing potentially thousands of NHS staff who have decided not to be vaccinated against Covid. For more information about COVID-19 and mandatory vaccinations please see here.
Staffing crisis will prevent NHS recovery, MPs warn
The Independent and the BBC have reported that MPs have said the Covid pandemic has had a “catastrophic” impact on NHS waiting lists and that the current wave of the Omicron variant is exacerbating an already serious staffing crisis that the government is failing to address. A new report from the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee warned that staff shortages have impacted, and will continue to impact, its ability to provide care.
Covid: Boris Johnson confirms Plan B rules to continue for three weeks
The BBC reports that England’s current Plan B rules will continue, for now, Boris Johnson has confirmed – as new figures show a record one in 15 people had Covid on New Year’s Eve. In an update to MPs, the prime minister said the Covid measures will be reviewed again by 26 January.
One-in-10 health trust staff absent with Covid, says union
The BBC reports that absences due to Covid-19 are affecting about one in 10 staff across all health trusts in Northern Ireland, the health union Unison has said. It comes as the Omicron variant continues to spread with transmission rates at an “extraordinary level”.
Self-isolating nurses: COVID rule changes in a bid to cut absence
Nursing Standard has reported that nurses who are asymptomatic following a positive lateral flow test will no longer have to take a PCR test, in a move designed to cut staff absence. Asymptomatic nursing staff will be able to return to work if they get negative lateral flow results on days six and seven following their positive tests.
Under-fire Nottingham maternity units are improving
Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust was last year rated “inadequate” by inspectors following dozens of baby deaths and injuries. The BBC has reported that a health boss said the hospital trust has made a “real difference” in improving its failing maternity services. The improvement work is being monitored by the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire clinical commissioning group (CCG).
Publication of the second report of the Independent Maternity Review
The Review Team has been liaising with NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care and can now confirm that the second report of the Independent Maternity Review of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust will be published no later than 24 March 2022.
The second report will build upon the work of the first report to ensure the Local Actions for Learning and Immediate and Essential Actions are strengthened and implemented at the Trust and across the wider maternity system in England. We have already seen some excellent progress and significant amounts of new funding for maternity services across England since the publication of the first report.
Thank you for your patience, an update on the precise date of publication will be provided as soon as possible.