The Hull NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) board heard demand for GP services had risen by 20 per cent amid a local care home bed shortage and some staff refusing coronavirus vaccinations.
CCG Chair Dr Dan Roper said “great distress” from NHS staff could see them leave amid high numbers of vacancies in other industries, particularly younger workers.
Hull City Council Public Health Director Julia Weldon said while Hull’s vaccine uptake among care workers was above the national average, a small number refusing jabs was “concerning”.
It comes as the board also heard the proportion of BAME staff in the CCG was five per cent, below their six per cent share of Hull’s population.
The board also heard they were currently looking for a new venue to replace the vaccination centre at Hull City Hall which is due to close.
CCG Chief Officer Emma Latimer said GPs were facing a “difficult time” following a recent spike in demand of 20 per cent for their services while helping with the vaccination rollout.
She added efforts were underway to expand capacity in services across Hull and the East Riding.
Dr Roper said officials understood the frustration of patients and were aware of issues accessing services but were concerned about the impact on staff wellbeing given rising demand.
The CCG chair said: “We’re hearing stories of great distress from our staff. Younger members of staff will be more vulnerable to this abuse, particularly on social media.
“We’ve got a situation where there’s about one million job vacancies which could attract people away from us, that runs the risk of undermining the system. Everywhere in the system is experiencing high demand, and the problem is that areas like A and E and primary care can’t control demand levels.”
CCG Associate Corporate Affairs Director Michael Napier said “extreme” risks currently facing Hull’s health system included a lack of Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered beds.
He added the shortage would have a “knock on effect” through the rest of the health system.
Board member Dr James Moult said some parts of the local care sector had already seen staff leave over requirements for them to be vaccinated by Thursday, November 11.
Board member Dr Masood Balouch said he dealt with two cases of vaccine refusal despite trying to bring those concerned around.
He added the situation often left GPs “stuck in between” their concerns and jab requirements.
Their comments come after the Department of Health and Social Care launched a consultation on whether to make vaccines for all frontline health workers compulsory earlier this month.
Ms Weldon said: “Vaccination uptake among care home staff in Hull is above the national average. But there are still some staff who will either have to leave work or be dismissed if they continue to refuse the vaccine.
“It’s only a small number of staff, but given the pressures in care at the moment it is concerning.
“We’re doing everything we can to work with our providers and NHS colleagues to help people make a decision and address some of the issues they may have.”