Covid-19: double vaccinated NHS and social care staff can work despite instructions to self-isolate

On 19 July 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that frontline NHS and social care staff in England who have received two vaccinations and who have been told to self-isolate will be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances.

The rules

This will include staff who have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace. When they are not at work, af-fected staff will remain under a legal duty to self-isolate but will have a “reasonable excuse” to leave home to attend work under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1045).

The DHSC has stated that staff must first have a negative PCR test and take daily negative lateral flow tests for a minimum of seven days and up to a total of 10 days or completion of the identified self-isolation period.

The exceptions

The exception will apply only where the absence of staff may lead to a significant risk of harm, in view of the potential workforce-related pressures on NHS and social care services; the DHSC has stated that decision-makers will need to carefully consider the comparative risk of onward transmission of COVID-19 compared to the delivery of critical services.

The authorisation for the attendance of an affected member of staff must be authorised by the relevant organisation’s local Director of Infection Prevention and Control, the lead professional for health protection, or the Director of Public Health relevant to the organisation.

How we can help

Moore Barlow are here to help should you need legal advice when it comes to vaccinations and tests and the legal rights that accompany them. Careful consideration needs to be given to this to avoid claims such as discrimination in a workplace which could lead to lengthy litigation, contact our employment solicitors today.