John Stevenson: If a member of the NHS decides that they do not want to be vaccinated, will they be given a redundancy payment; and if not, why not? But if they are and that is the policy, how much would it cost the NHS, and would that be a good use of taxpayers’ money?
Sajid Javid: I believe that it would not be classed as redundancy because it would not be redundancy; that job would not have become redundant. If an individual chooses not to get vaccinated, that is of course a decision for them to make. The way in which this should be, and no doubt will be, implemented by the NHS is that getting vaccinated should always be a positive choice. The NHS has put in place a number of methods to try to provide the information that people want to share, including through one-to-one consultations and providing more information especially for those who may have received misinformation. The outcome when a similar measure was implemented for care homes was that many staff—when provided with the right, positive information —chose to be vaccinated, rather than to leave their jobs.
John Stevenson: Can the hon. Gentleman explain why the Labour party did not support mandatory vaccinations for care workers but has changed its mind for NHS workers?
Wes Streeting: I will outline our position on that, but the hon. Gentleman will have to be patient because I will come on to that later in my speech.
We need to buy the NHS and its helpers some time. The measures put forward for consideration today are an attempt to do just that by slowing the spread of the virus whilst trying to protect Christmas so that people can enjoy the festive season safely, by limiting our interactions in the workplace, by wearing face coverings in settings where the virus finds it easier to spread, by testing before we attend large indoor gatherings, and by getting behind the booster roll-out to ensure that everyone is protected.