Update: Vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) for all healthcare workers



Classification: Official

Publication approval reference: C1471


  • ICS leads
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6 December 2021

Dear colleague

On 10 November 2021, NHS England and NHS Improvement issued a letter to the service acknowledging the announcement made by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than 1 April 2022 to protect patients, regardless of their employer, including secondary and primary care. The regulations will apply equally across the public (NHS) and independent health sector.

Guidance for HRDs and organisations

NHS England and NHS Improvement has worked with DHSC, NHS Employers, Social Partnership Forum and wider stakeholders to develop the guidance.

The purpose of this guidance is to support providers in preparing and planning for when the regulations (which are subject to parliamentary passage) are introduced. This document includes supporting material to provide further clarity and confirmation of which individuals are in scope of the regulations and those which are exempt, and guidance on increasing vaccination uptake; including among groups where uptake is lower. The guidance reiterates the importance of continuing to have supportive 1:1 conversations with colleagues and supports employers in ensuring the best protection for vulnerable patients and staff in healthcare settings.

Also attached is a supporting document curating useful tools to help increase vaccination uptake. These tools have been used to address concerns and hesitancy among specific groups such as women of childbearing age and ethnic minority communities and to aid 1:1 conversations that are already taking place effectively between line managers and individuals across the NHS. We know that holding 1:1 conversations in phase 1 of the staff vaccination programme was associated with an increased uptake by 10%. It is vital that we continue to drive up vaccination by engaging in meaningful conversations with unvaccinated staff to minimise the potential impact of VCOD across the healthcare service.

We will review and update the guidance in accordance with government advice, and we will continue to work with you to minimise service disruption while ensuring that patient care and safety continue to be our core priority.

Next steps from NHS England and NHS Improvement

Please note this is iterative guidance which will be reviewed regularly to ensure any legislative changes are reflected, and feedback and queries from colleagues across the healthcare system are considered.

Following completion of parliamentary passage, the second part of the guidance will be issued, focusing on the implementation of the new regulations inclusive of a redeployment framework and advice regarding formal steps for staff who remain unvaccinated on 1 April 2022.

Thank you for your continued support throughout the vaccination programme and for everything you are doing to care for patients and support your colleagues at this time.

Yours sincerely

Prerana Isaar | NHS Chief People Officer

Professor Stephen Powis | National Medical Director

Ruth May | Chief Nursing Officer for England

Dr Nikki Kanani MBE | Deputy SRO, COVID-19 Vaccination Deployment Programme | Medical Director for Primary Care

Suzanne Rastrick OBE | Chief Allied Health Professions Officer