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March 2021 - Newsletter - Updates

05 Mar 2021

COVID-19: Vaccination and the workplace

The vaccination programme is gathering pace. With a recent survey suggesting that 23% of employers plan to require their staff to be vaccinated, and talk in the press of 'no jab, no job' work contracts, what exactly are you allowed to do when it comes to managing vaccination-related workplace issues and risks?

Can employers require all staff to be vaccinated?

Probably not. Although the government has powers to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases, it doesn't have the power to require people to undergo medical treatment. This includes vaccination.

The government's Green Book on immunisation states that consent from the individual is needed before any medical treatment, including all vaccines.

The government appear to have no plans to change this, repeatedly emphasising that people won't be forced to have a vaccine if they don't want one.

All of this makes it difficult for you to automatically insist on it. So, too, does the statement from Acas that 'Employers should support staff in getting the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, but they cannot force staff to be vaccinated'.

Can employers require certain staff to be vaccinated?

Possibly, but the position isn't clear. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does require you to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all your employees. A similar duty exists under the general law. On its own, that's probably still not enough to justify mandatory vaccination, but it might be relevant background in some cases.

That's because an employee has a duty under the general law to obey the lawful and reasonable orders of their employer. Acas have suggested that you should only decide it's necessary for staff to be vaccinated 'if getting the vaccine is required for someone to do their job' (e.g. if staff travel to other countries for work). Others have suggested a more nuanced approach, where reasonableness is a question of degree. Relevant considerations may include the nature of the role, the circumstances of each employee, the risks to other staff or people they encounter, and the workplace's size/layout.

On this basis, it may be reasonable – for example – to require healthcare staff or teachers and support staff to be vaccinated. But it's less likely to be reasonable for staff who have limited contact with others and for whom other protective measures can be put in place.

A key question is likely to be whether vaccination provides greater protection than other measures. It's not yet known for sure that vaccination reduces or prevents transmission of COVID-19 (trials are ongoing). If it's found that it doesn't, it's unlikely that you can successfully argue that compulsory vaccination is proportionate to keep others safe.

Unfortunately there are no easy answers here – you'll need to get legal advice if you think requiring vaccination may be justified as it'll depend hugely on your circumstances.

Can employers put vaccination requirements into staff contracts?

You might want to change an employee's contract to add a compulsory vaccination requirement. However, this is potentially problematic. You'll need their agreement – if you make the change without it, you'll be in breach of contract and the original terms of the contract will remain in place. The employee then has options:

  • They can waive the breach by continuing to work without complaint under the new terms.
  • They can work under the new terms under protest and claim for breach of contract. If the change imposed is substantial, you might be deemed to have dismissed the employee, meaning they could also claim for unfair dismissal.
  • If the breach of contract is fundamental, they can resign and claim for constructive dismissal.

It may be easier to only insert the vaccination requirement into contracts for new staff. However, unless you're recruiting significant numbers of people, this is unlikely to result in any greater protection for your overall workforce. It potentially also opens you up to discrimination claims (more on this below).

In short, it's currently risky – don't try and make vaccinations a part of staff contracts without getting legal advice first.

Can employers take action against staff who refuse to be vaccinated?

Assuming you've legitimately introduced a compulsory vaccination policy or a contractual vaccination requirement, then, in theory, yes you can. But it's not without risks.

Obviously, you can't physically enforce a vaccination – that would be a criminal offence. There are potentially 2 actions you might consider:

  • Refusing to allow the employee to come to work (i.e. a suspension on medical grounds); or
  • Starting disciplinary proceedings.

An employee suspended on medical grounds is entitled to full pay for up to 26 weeks. If you start disciplinary proceedings, you could suspend them pending the outcome to ensure the safety of others, but they're entitled to full pay until the proceedings are concluded.

In both cases, you'll have to properly take into account the employee's circumstances. There are many reasons why they might reasonably refuse a vaccine: e.g. medical advice, religious or philosophical belief, pregnancy, disability, wanting to keep control over their medical choices or wanting to wait for more evidence of safety.

Some might even be advised not to have the vaccine due to a medical condition or may have severe trypanophobia (fear of needles); both could mean they have a disability and be protected under the Equality Act 2010 if they refuse the vaccine. Note, though, that those with a history of anaphylaxis to food, an identified drug or vaccine, or an insect sting, have been advised that they can still receive any COVID-19 vaccine if they're not known to be allergic to any of its components. All vaccination sites should have equipment for managing an anaphylactic reaction.

If you compel an employee to get a vaccine and they then suffer an adverse reaction, they could try and bring a personal injury claim against you.

More evidence is needed before pregnant women are routinely offered the vaccine. Women who avoid vaccination because they are planning a pregnancy may be able to claim sex discrimination if, as a result, you treat them less favourably or later dismiss them.

Ultimately, any policy or contractual requirement about vaccination that adversely affects people from a protected group (race, age, sex, disability and religion/belief being the most likely) will potentially be indirectly discriminatory. A dismissal resulting from the implementation of such a policy or requirement may well be unfair.

It's worth noting, though:

  • The COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK don't use pork gelatine and are endorsed by the British Islamic Medical Association, Hindu Council UK, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. That doesn't, though, stop religious objections on other grounds.
  • While veganism is a protected belief, the Vegan Society accepts that vaccination 'will play a fundamental role in tackling the pandemic and saving lives' and encourages vegans to look after their health and that of others. Of course, though, the Vegan Society doesn't represent all vegans.
  • Anti-vaccination beliefs based on a wide variety of conspiracy theories may not be protected as a philosophical belief. That's because there isn't an adequately coherent belief system behind them and such beliefs may not be worthy of respect in a democratic society. That doesn't stop such beliefs from being protected if the basis for them exists less at the fringes.

The critical point is that you must always allow for exceptions. Listen to any concerns and objections and take them seriously. Even if you've put in place a policy or contractual requirement, you won't be entitled to act on it if your employee's refusal is reasonable in all the circumstances.

Pressuring employees to be vaccinated, through threats of suspension or disciplinary action, carries very real and potentially significant legal and financial risks. It could also negatively affect your business reputation and staff morale.

A better approach is to encourage staff to be vaccinated – educate them on the benefits of vaccination by providing impartial, factual information to help them make an informed decision.

Can employers relax safety measures after vaccination?

The short answer is no. England's deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam has warned that people who have received their vaccination must still obey social-distancing rules. Businesses continue, therefore, to be required to risk assess their workplaces and take steps to ensure they're COVID-secure, through measures such as home working, social distancing, face coverings and so on.

It's still too early to say whether widespread vaccination will eventually reduce the measures required to make a workplace COVID-secure. It may be a long time before enough people are vaccinated; it's very unlikely that any vaccine will be 100% effective, and there will always be those who cannot receive a vaccine.

You should therefore be cautious about treating the vaccine as a mechanism to remove other measures. Instead, continue to follow government guidance and monitor it for changes.

However, vaccination might alter your approach for some clinically highly vulnerable staff. Having the vaccine means these workers can better protect themselves and, subject to an individual risk assessment and both vaccine doses, they may be able to finish shielding and return to the workplace (if it's essential that they do so).

Finally, keep in mind that you may need to take extra steps to protect any staff who have a genuine medical reason that prevents vaccination.

What about data protection implications?

If you collect any information about whether employees have (or haven't) been vaccinated, you must handle it as special category data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018. The ICO have recently added guidance on vaccinations to their 'Data protection and coronavirus information hub' to help you do this.


If you are looking for support with your team or any training needs please feel to contact us:
Glenys: 07973361390
Rebecca: 07748 156505

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I have just completed the course, the support received from Emma throughout was second to none! I started the course having recently taken on the role as Treatment Coordinator and the knowledge and skills acquired has allowed me to progress in the role. The whole process was smooth and informative and I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks Emma for all of your help!

Molly Rolinson, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Absolutely loved this course, it pushed my current knowledge to a higher level and taught me a lot about myself along the way. Gaining the knowledge that I did and then putting it into assignments was tough at times, but the feedback from Glenys and the verifier made me feel more confident in what I have learnt and also in my role at work, this course has definitely given me the skills for career progression, and I would recommend it to any dental nurse wanting to progress in the field. Glenys is a down to earth tutor with vast knowledge and understanding and is very approachable, her live tutorials are invaluable.

Sue M, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

great course, learnt lots of new information that i can use daily

Rebecca Renehan , Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses

This is an in-depth course that covers many aspects of management and leadership, it encourages you to think outside the box and introduces different methods and scientific theories. I feel my understanding of correct leadership and management has changed for the better as I am applying what I've learned so far into my daily practice. I have been fortunate enough to be assigned to Mrs Gill Adaire who shared her knowledge and experience with me and taught the course content in a way that was so enjoyable and interesting and easy for me to learn. Her dedication, understanding, and support were beyond anything that I expected. I feel that I have been supported fully throughout the course. This course is definitely worth a lot more and I would highly recommend Glenys Bridges &Partners Practice Pathways. I would like to thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity and I am also looking forward to continuing my learning with you in the near future!

Arezoo Wilson, Introduction to Practice Management (Induction Course)


SY, Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

I am very happy to have done this course, especially with Gill Adaire as my teacher in this Mentoring Skills course. The course is well designed, particularly for people like me who are interested in but don't know where to start. I learnt how to plan a structured programme which would benefit me as a mentor as well as my future mentees, in making them confident to take ethical and clinically appropriate decisions. I felt the high point of this course is the flexibility to access the teacher according to my work/personal life schedule. This gave me more freedom to do this at my own pace, rather than set one by someone else. The course has now given me the confidence to train someone and be a mentor to a new dentist and also guide them through the intricacies of dentistry in the UK. My tutor was excellent - engaged, worked on my reflective practice, allowing me to engage myself in the process at my pace. I believe the course is well designed and has the best way to support upcoming mentors. I thank you for the opportunity to learn from the best.

Dr.Anil Shet, First Steps in Peer Mentoring Skills

Just completed this course, and I felt totally supported by my tutor Emma all the way through. It was a very informative course and I feel confident moving forward within the role. Will definitely be using the company again for any other courses going forward. 5 star all the way

Sarah Larkin, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Oh Gosh! what can i say ... Iam thrilled to bits i started this Reception Lead Course. It has given me more of an insight and more knowledge of the understanding of Reception Lead. I feel more aware of my surroundings and the empathy needed within my Job Role. Gill Adaire is the calmest, most considerate person and a joy to talk to. The knowledge Gill has given me to make me a better leader is hard to put into words. The support and advice that Gill has given me have helped my journey into this new chapter. Since starting this course i have been thinking more about how i can improve more of the areas surrounding the Lead Receptionist Role. I have gained confidence so thank you Gill Adaire for your patience and time i will be doing more courses in the near future. Kind Regards. .

Angela Lovat., Introduction to the Lead Receptionist Role

A big thank you to Emma Farrell! This course has been valuable to my dental practice. My employer is impressed with the skills and knowledge I have gained from doing this course!!

Mary Swoffer, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

Overall, my experience since starting the course has been really good, I have learnt a lot considering I was a little apprehensive about doing a course online because I have dyslexia I was worried how I’ll upload work and if I’ll learn over zoom, but having that 1 to 1 tutor time made it so much easier/calmer for me, and it felt like it wasn’t a race, I wasn’t shy asking questions and I was at my own pace. I couldn’t of asked for a better tutor, Emma has a lot of knowledge and we always found ourselves laughing in the sessions, I seriously don’t think I would have done this course this quick if it wasn’t for Emma, the level of support was amazing, Emma was always on the other end of the phone if I wasn’t sure about anything before handing my work in. I feel like I’ve achieved so much and I feel like I’m going to give my own patients the best care when they come in to see me.

Mariangela Saudella, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

I’ve just completed this course and found it to be very well structured & informative. Due to the distance learning aspect, it can be fitted around family and work commitments. My tutor Emma was very helpful & supportive throughout. Highly recommend this course :)

Debra Hewitt, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

It is a worthful to do as a dentist because it is a part of hygiene for the patients and the dental team as well as I came to know that how it benefitted in covid era.

A.S.T., Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

Thank you for guiding me through this course which is full of valuable information for dental receptionists early in their career. The zoom meetings really help to understand the work and the videos help to reinforce learning.

Gill Adaire, Introduction to Dental Reception Skills 2023

I found the course very interesting. It gave me more confidence in my job role. I felt the course was at the right level, that if I neeeded advice or support I knew it was always available. To any Lead nurse I would advise to do the course as I feel that it helps you understand the role, understand how to look after and support your team and to feel confident in what you say.

Marie, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

I found the course very interesting. It gave me more confidence in my job role. I felt the course was at the right level, that if I neeeded advice or support I knew it was always available. To any Lead nurse I would advise to do the course as I feel that it helps you understand the role, understand how to look after and support your team and to feel confident in what you say.

Marie, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses

Wow what can I say...So happy I did the course. I was extremely nervous about doing this course and finding the right one. Emma is such a pleasure to deal with. Having one on one meetings made me feel so much more comfortable, she gives you as much time as you need, always available for any support and advice. The course is brilliant, learnt so much information ready to start my journey being an Implant nurse. Feel like I've come away with so much information not just in this field but to help me in my day to day role in my practice. Would definitely recommend this course.

BB, Introduction to Implant Dental Nursing- Individual CPD

I love the course. Give so much self esteem. Its very easy and the tutorial have all info for you to do your work. The best is the teacher Edita how makes the lessons so easy and fun. I always looking forward for new lesson the learn new thinks.

Rasa, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

I have just completed the advanced dental practice management skills S3 and I have learned so much from the course. It has given me the tools and knowledge to put what I have learned in daily practice. It's given me the confidence and empowerment to put my new found skills into action. The student portal is very east to navigate and the ongoing support from Glenys has been fantastic and never felt under any pressure as you are able to go at your own pace. To have a formal practice management qualification is a great feeling. Many thanks Glenys.

Claire Maloney, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

I have learned so much form completing this course. I am able to put all aspects into daily practice and the improvements made have been very beneficial both to myself and my employer. I was very fortunate to be under the wing of Glenys who supported me through both my professional and personal life. The amount of encouragement I received has truly made a long lasting impression on me. I have developed as a person as well as a leader for my team. I cant recommend Glenys and the course highly enough and I think it should be a necessity for all CQC registered Managers to complete. This course has encouraged me to develop me knowledge and career much much further and I cant wait to see what results I get! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.

Sammi Coidan, Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

This course is very informative it gets you thinking of how to deal with complex situations. i am thoroughly enjoying this course and it has been challenging at times but Glenys has dealt with how I understand the concept of management

DL, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills

Fantastic well structured course. It made clinical governance and auditing process so much more simpler to carry out.

Nirav Thakker, Team Development- Getting it Right- Clinical Governance and Audit

The first steps in Implant Dental Nursing course has given me all the basic knowledge I require to start Implant nursing.Emma has been an amazing tutor and has given me so many tips and advice. The course has really helped me with understand what I can and can’t do when I have donned and sterile. It has also taught me the terminology I need and how I can track the patients progress which I stered using in practice straight away. Brilliant course and would recommend it to anyone starting out with Implants

Hannah Berwick, First Steps in Implant Dental Nursing

I found this course extremely helpful in explaining how I as a dental nurse can help to assist the dentists and the patient during a rubber dam procedure. I am interested in completing further training in placing rubber dam myself, especially with the current circumstances p.

Hannah Berwick , Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

It helped me understand why a rubber dam is used

Ss, Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

I really enjoyed learning what it takes to become a care coordinator and the skills needed. Emma was such a great help in developing my knowledge beyond my potential. I am really grateful that that I had her as a tutor as she made me gain further understanding of how this role should be applied in practice. I am looking forward to put this new qualification to use and I hope to pick up more qualifications from this platform :)

Sarah Nsiah- Amoakoh, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

I found this implant dental nursing ECPD course extremely useful. I am the lead dental nurse at my practice and we are in the process of our new implantologist starting. I knew nothing about implant nursing before this course but now I know terminology, the difference between a sterilised nurse and a non sterilised nurse, the correct way to set up the surgery and so much more. This has given me the basic knowledge I require to assist our implantologist.

Hannah Berwick, Introduction to Implant Dental Nursing- Individual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

I recently completed the Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses S-1. I have 20 years experience of working as a dental nurse and stepped into the role of a lead nurse a few years ago. Although I am a very experienced nurse I initially found stepping into this role a bit tough as I wasn't used to managing others and didn't like asking the other nurses to do things. I would actually do them by myself rather than ask. Throughout this course I learnt that it is important to allocate and delegate tasks to the other nurses.This gives me time to do other tasks I have to do and also makes the other nurses role more enjoyable as they are being given the opportunity to do something different. I had Edita as my tutor and she was fantastic. She was very upbeat and passionate when we had our tutorials each week. Her passion also made me feel motivated. This course and Editas support made me believe in myself. I would highly recommend and look forward to doing further training with Glenys Bridges in the future. The best part of this course for me was gaining my Certificate of Acheivement.

Lisa Clark, Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses -S 1

I have been a member of the Glenys Bridges team for over a two and a half years, and have been treated with respect and care ever since. Glenys is very professional, enlightening and insightful to individual student needs. My tutoring sessions with her are really amazing and transformative for me, and she helped me to progress from a Lead dental nurse to Practice Manager. I was going through a rough time and I wasn't sure I would make it, but she showed me that I am important and helped me get through the tough time. Thank you for the past few years, I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and I feel it has been a valuable experience. I have already recommended your services and will continue to do so!

Patrycja Galonzka , Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

I've just completed my Course in High skills in Dental Care Coordination and I honestly couldn't recommend Glenys Bridges enough. Had continuous support from Edita my tutor throughout the Course to help me achieve it! The webiste is simple and easy to use to upload work. I have gained great knowledge on Care Coordination and I am very happy I did my course with Glenys Bridges! Highly Recommend

Zoe , Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

This course was a great course to complete alongside my working week. I was able to complete studies at my own pace and receive support from tutors whenever needed. The high point of this course was learning how to performance manage and support my staff effectively to ensure they develop fully in their career. This also means that the business get the best out of their staff. I have benefited hugely from this course as it has given me the confidence to manage my practice effectively and provided me with the knowledge to apply to my work. The tutor support with Gleny's Bridges is second to none. I was able to receive support and advice whenever needed. I would definitely recommend them as a course provider.

Amy Littler , Higher Dental Practice Management - Level 4

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