The Government is facing a legal challenge over mandatory coronavirus vaccines for NHS workers, The Telegraph has learned.
The Health Secretary has been warned that the policy is unlawful, irrational and disproportionate – and that it goes against the “fundamental human right of bodily autonomy”.
Frontline health workers have been warned they could face dismissal this spring if they do not get their first jab by the end of next week.
NHS guidance to employers says all frontline staff who have not been vaccinated should start being called into formal meetings from February 4 and warned that they face dismissal.
The Government has been sent a letter before action by lawyers acting for seven NHS staff members and a dental student.
Mandatory jabs causing ‘unacceptable’ stress
The claimants include Dr Steve James, a consultant in critical care at King’s College Hospital, Dr Helen Westwood, a GP, and Matthew Lee Taylor, a specialist paramedic in primary care.
The letter, seen by The Telegraph, argues that the mandatory vaccine undermines “the principles of informed consent”.
Stephen Jackson, principal solicitor at the law firm Jackson Osborne Solicitors, which is representing the claimants, said: “If people have to give away their bodily autonomy, there is a question over whether they remain free.
“Pausing the policy is going to leave the guillotine simply resting above people’s necks, their jobs and lives. That is not good enough.
“It is causing an unacceptable level of stress and uncertainty for them, and for the health service and the public.”
The pre-action letter points out that the vaccine mandate does not take into account natural immunity to Covid, which NHS staff may have through exposure to the virus.
It also notes the Government’s own admission that it will cause a “staffing crisis through the loss of well over 100,000 staff” across the health and care sector.