Sunday 20th May 2007
Revised policy by NSW Health clarifies guidelines on vaccination against infectious diseases
NSW Health has reviewed its policy on vaccinations against specified infectious diseases, in consultation with the NSWNA and various health unions.
Vaccinations have always been compulsory for health workers in the NSW public health system and recent updates only mean minimal changes to the policy.
‘Vaccination has been shown to be a safe and cost-effective way to avoid preventable illness in patients, health care workers and the general public,’ said NSWNA General Secretary, Brett Holmes.
‘The NSWNA was consulted on the review and as part of this working group we supported changes and suggestions to ensure the protection of NSWNA members as well as patients,’ he said.
The updated policy applies to nurses in the public health system and provisions have been made for existing employees who are not vaccinated. In these circumstances, the nurse’s duties and areas of work can be negotiated so that conditions are safe for both nurses and patients.
‘The NSWNA is here to protect nurses and in the case of unvaccinated nurses, each case will be considered individually and the nurse will be offered alternative duties in order to reach the best outcome for all involved,’ said Brett Holmes.
‘Nurses’ jobs are not under threat because of the new vaccination policy. The NSWNA will work to ensure members’ jobs are secure and that existing staff who don’t wish to be vaccinated will be accommodated for.’
The reviewed policy also applies to new employees and nursing students on clinical placements. In these cases, nurses and students will need to provide verification of specific immunisations and protection levels from specified infectious diseases.
NSW Health recommends that health care professionals have their Adult Vaccination Record Card current and up-dated, indicating their levels of protection.