Sheffield nurse who served on Covid front line does not support plan unvaccinated staff into back-office roles

A Sheffield nurse who served on the frontline of the Covid pandemic has said that he does not believe a Government minister’s proposals to make all unvaccinated NHS staff work in back-office roles is a good idea.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 10:27 am

Care minister Helen Whately told Times Radio that health and care workers who refuse to get vaccinated could be moved from their frontline jobs into back-office roles and would not treat patients in hospitals.

However Joan Pons Laplana, who worked as a nurse manager and in intensive care during the pandemic, has said that this proposal would do ‘more harm than good’ to the standard of care patients receive.

“Helen Whately’s proposal potentially puts patient safety at risk,” he said.

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Joan Pons Laplana worked in intensive care at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield during the coronavirus crisis

“As nurses the priority is to make sure we protect the health and wellbeing of all of our patients.

"The NHS is running at full capacity and has been doing for many years. There are 40,000 staff vacancies as it is and very often the lack of staff puts patient safety at risk.

“We do not have the luxury to be able to take staff away from the frontline and put them in a back office; that would worsen the staffing crisis and create a bigger problem.

“So there is a dilemma, as we are living with one of the deadliest viruses in the modern age that has killed a lot of people, and we do not want to spread that.”

Some 92 per cent of NHS staff have had their first dose of a coronavirus jab while 88 per cent have had both doses.

However Mr Laplana said that even a 10 per cent decrease in staff on the frontline should the unvaccinated ones be removed would have a massive impact on the standard of care and put patients at greater risk than potentially having unvaccinated staff on the frontline does.

“If you have 10 staff on a ward, and even one or two go, you cannot give as good standard of care to all the patients,” he said.

“We need the staff, so I would say we should make staff do a lateral flow test every day before work, and if they test negative, they can work.”

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