London has highest proportion of unvaccinated NHS staff in England, figures reveal

The BMA have said patients “understandably expect to be looked after by someone who has been vaccinated”.

London has the highest proportion of NHS staff yet to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in England, data has shown.

A total of 12.3% (25,393) of staff in Greater London were unvaccinated against Covid-19 as of October 31, 2021, figures from the NHS Electronic Staff Record have revealed.

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It comes as health secretary Sajid Javid announced that vaccines would become mandatory for frontline NHS staff from spring 2022.

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But Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association (BMA) chairman described NHS staff vaccine take up as “high” and said: “Patients should feel safe and many understandably expect to be looked after by someone who has been vaccinated.

“However, there is an important distinction between believing every healthcare worker should be vaccinated and advocating mandatory vaccinations for all NHS staff.”

Figures compiled by NationalWorld, LondonWorld’s sister title, have revealed the city’s low vaccine rates are in spite of having the third lowest number of NHS workers in the country, when compared to the East, Midlands, North East, North West, South East and South West.

There are 205,776 NHS staff in London, of which 180,383 (87.7%) have had their first dose of the vaccine, while just 172,373 (83.8%) have had their second dose.

Meanwhile the South West region has the highest rates of vaccine take up among NHS staff, with just 4.9% (7,101) of their 145,511 workers unvaccinated as of the end of October, with 95.1% take up of the first dose and 92.8% take up of the second.

Data analysis by LondonWorld revealed the trust with the lowest vaccine take up among NHS staff is Barts Health, where just 79.7% (19,539) of the 24,516 staff are double jabbed.

While the trust - which is London’s largest and runs Newham, Mile End, St Bartholomew’s, The Royal London and Whipps Cross Hospitals - was also the second lowest for first-dose take up, with 84.6% (20,741) of staff jabbed once, behind North Middlesex University Hospital Trust on 84.5%.

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: Frank Augstein - Pool / Getty Images

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust, which is one of the biggest trusts in England, said: “We are committed to working with our staff to increase our vaccination uptake.

“Our core vaccination team have now been established in four hospital hubs, who are working alongside our teams to increase uptake for Covid-19 and also winter flu jabs.”

The trust is encouraging unvaccinated staff to take the vaccine and has begun roving clinics to take vaccines into wards where frontline staff are working.

Dr Nagpaul added: “While the BMA has serious concerns about making vaccination mandatory, we’re pleased the government has delayed the policy until spring next year.

“Given the current staffing crisis in the NHS, waiting until April is sensible. Any workforce reduction will impact heavily on services as we face a record care backlog.

“Even if a small number of staff were forced out of work because they are not vaccinated, this would have a big impact on a health service under constant pressure with over 93,000 unfilled vacancies.”

And Dr Jagan John, chair of NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (NELCCG), said: “Winter is always a challenging time for the NHS and we want to help our residents stay well by protecting themselves against Covid-19 as cases continue to rise.

“It is really important that people get their booster as soon as they become eligible.

“This can help prevent you from becoming seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and large numbers of unvaccinated patients in intensive care are a stark reminder of how important it is that everyone, particularly vulnerable residents, comes forward for the vaccine.

“First and second Covid jabs are available at a range of sites, including pharmacies and community venues.

“Anyone aged 16-plus can easily find their nearest high street, walk-in vaccination centre for their first or second jab through the ‘Grab a Jab’ NHS online walk-in finder.”

The Mayor of London has been contacted for comment.