Since the Government announced its intention to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for those working in the care home sector, we have been monitoring the situation closely as we would have serious concerns should this mandate be extended to all healthcare professionals, such as osteopaths.
We fully support the national vaccination programme and its vital role in protecting public health. In line with other professional bodies, we would, however, have serious concerns about the introduction of a mandatory policy which would raise ethical and legal considerations.
Such a policy has the potential to lead to a loss in the healthcare workforce so much needed by patients, affecting the accessibility of healthcare services at a time when additional capacity is needed.
We believe that vaccinations play a vital role in protecting patients, healthcare workers and the wider public, and while every effort should be made to increase uptake, they should remain a voluntary option.
Our view is that efforts to increase uptake should be focused on education and support, leading to a fully informed decision-making process.
At present there is no formal indication that this policy will be extended to osteopaths, however, we will continue to monitor closely the Government and public health bodies’ narratives on this issue.