health

Boris Johnson says he is ‘very worried’ about risk of Cop 26 not being successful – politics live


Good morning. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has been on airwaves duty this morning, primarily to promote the announcement that almost £6bn extra is being spent tackling waiting lists in England. My colleague Andrew Gregory has the story here.

Javid was also asked about the government decision that comes into force on 11 November requiring all frontline social care staff to be fully vaccinated, and the consultation on requiring all frontline NHS staff to be fully jabbed too.

Javid said the final decision for NHS staff has not yet been taken, but he confirmed that his “direction of travel” was towards making full vaccination a mandatory requirement.

There have been claims that this policy will make staffing shortages – which are already a problem in the NHS, and particularly dire in the social care sector – even worse because a minority of employees will leave rather than agreeing to get fully vaccinated.

But Javid argued these fears were unfounded, because in social care the new rule had led to an “absolute surge” in people getting vaccinated. He said:


If we look at [social care] as an example, when we announced that … we’ve seen an absolute surge in the number of social care workers that are finally getting their vaccinations. If you want the latest numbers, we are told by the [Care Quality Commission] there’s around 30,000 at the moment, out of a workforce of over a million, that haven’t yet had their any vaccination. Of those a substantial portion that will be medically exempt.

So whilst there will be an impact on the social care workforce that I would rather not see, I think the net result is a safer social care sector.

At the time the government announced in June the decision to make vaccination compulsory for social care workers in England, about 15% of staff in care homes had not received a single dose of vaccine and approximately 30% were not fully vaccinated.

I will post more from Javid’s interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes figures relating to vaccinations and long Covid.

12.30pm: Downing Street holds its lobby briefing.

2.30pm: Michael Gove takes questions in the Commons for the first time in his new role as levelling up secretary.

2.30pm: Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, gives evidence to the joint parliamentary committee considering the draft online safety bill.

3.30pm: David Frost, the Brexit minister, gives evidence to the European scrutiny committee.

I’ll be covering some UK Covid developments here, but for wider coronavirus coverage, do read our global live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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