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The NHS could lose almost one in 10 midwives because of the requirement for mandatory jabs, leaked figures have suggested. 

Health Service Journal reported that across the country, around 1,700 such staff remain unvaccinated. More than 12 per cent of midwives in London are yet to have their jabs. 

The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, a former chief nurse of England and now Bishop of London, last week called for a delay in introducing mandatory vaccines, saying the loss of staff could put women and babies at risk. 

Under current plans, NHS staff will start being dismissed in just over two weeks if they have not had both Covid jabs. 

The poor uptake among midwives comes amid concerns about the number of pregnant women who have not been vaccinated. 

Latest data shows that 96 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated. In one in five cases where pregnant women were hospitalised with Covid, their babies needed neonatal care. 

Fears of ‘catastrophic’ impact on services

Speaking in Parliament last week, the Rt Revd Mullally – who was chief nursing officer for England between 1999 and 2004 – said she would strongly encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated.

But she continued: “It is estimated that London could lose 12.5 per cent of its midwives, putting at risk the lives of pregnant women and their babies.”

Across the whole NHS workforce, around five per cent of staff have yet to have both jabs, while eight per cent have yet to have their first, published statistics show. 

The Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of GPs have all urged ministers to delay the rules, with warnings they could have a “catastrophic” impact on the delivery of services. 

The Government insists the deadline will not be moved. 

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Health and social care workers look after the most vulnerable people in society, who could face serious health consequences if exposed to the virus. 

“Ensuring staff are vaccinated is the right thing to do to protect patients and those in care. The vast majority of NHS staff have had the vaccine, which is our best defence against Covid-19.”

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