The NHS in England will start sacking staff who are not vaccinated against coronavirus in just over two weeks, according to new guidance.

In December, MPs approved mandatory vaccinations for NHS and social care staff by April this year.

All frontline staff will be required to have had at least two jabs by April 1 meaning frontline employees would have had to have received their first jab by February 3.

Last week, the Royal College of Nursing warned plans to introduce mandatory vaccination in England could “backfire” amid calls to delay the new policy.

The warning comes as the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), which states that current staff absences are at their highest level since the pandemic began, said the policy could have a significant impact on maternity services.

It is thought more than 80,000 workers remain unvaccinated against the virus and face losing their jobs as a result.

NHS to begin ‘formal meetings’ from next month

The Telegraph reports NHS guidance to employees has said frontline staff yet to be vaccinated should be called into formal meetings from February 4 and warned that they face dismissal.

Dismissal notices will be dished out from that day with a notice period lasting until March 31.

Porters, receptionists, nurses and doctors are among the roles to be affected by the new guidance.

Management have been told they redeploy patient-facing staff into backroom roles with but should not have to find “suitable alternative employment.

The guidance also adds redundancy payments will not be made to those who are dismissed, according to The Telegraph.

Nurses and midwives call for delay to mandatory jab plans

The National: Pat Cullen, the RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, says nursing staff have led the Covid-19 vaccination programme (Peter Byrne/PA)Pat Cullen, the RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, says nursing staff have led the Covid-19 vaccination programme (Peter Byrne/PA)

The RCM said there are “chronic understaffing” issues in the sector – with an estimated shortfall of around 2000 midwives, it added.

Both Colleges have called for an immediate delay to plans for mandatory Covid-19 jabs for frontline staff who must be fully vaccinated with two jabs by April 1 – meaning they must have had their first vaccine on February 3.

Those who do not have the vaccination and cannot be redeployed are expected to lose their jobs, the RCN believes.

The RCN says the unrelenting pressure nursing staff have been under for nearly two years along with there being around 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in England has compromised patient safety.

The Government’s own impact assessment warns 73,000 NHS staff in England could be lost, making the nursing workforce crisis even worse.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “NHS and care staff do amazing work and we are thankful to those who have chosen to get the vaccine.

“Health and social care workers are responsible for looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society, many of whom are more likely to suffer serious health consequences if exposed to the virus.

“This is about patient safety, and ensuring people in hospital or care have as much protection as possible. Vaccinations remain our best defence against Covid-19.”