BARNSLEY Hospital bosses have revealed there is a ‘very small number of staff currently declining to be vaccinated’ at the trust.

The Chronicle revealed in December that about 300 of 4,000 staff members had not been vaccinated, sparking fears of job losses.

It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said all those working in the NHS - and social care settings - must ‘avoid preventable harm to protect patients’ by having compulsory vaccines.

Staff working in the adult social care sector are already required to have had two doses of the vaccine to work in care homes in England regulated by the Care Quality Commission, unless they are exempt.

However, ministers are expected to scrap the mandatory jab plan due to worries over staffing.

Announcing the rumoured U-turn on Monday, Mr Javid said it was ‘no longer proportionate’ to require vaccination as a condition of employment under law.

Dr Richard Jenkins, chief executive of Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said in a report that ’very considerable efforts to understand the precise vaccination status of all staff’ had been taken.

Dr Jenkins added: “The latest position is that there are a very small number of staff who are currently declining to be vaccinated.

“The situation is more complex than a binary vaccinated-versus-unvaccinated situation as many other individual considerations apply such as pregnancy, maternity leave, medical exemptions and long-term sickness, amongst others.

“This requires an individualised approach to be taken with each unvaccinated staff member to work through these factors.”

Trade union Unison, whose members blasted the no-jab-no-job ultimatum, said it welcomed the Health Secretary’s remarks.

A spokesperson said: “This was the right thing to do, but it shouldn’t have taken the government so long to realise the huge mistake it was making.

“Ministers were repeatedly warned the jab rules would cause staffing chaos for the NHS and the care sector but chose not to listen.

“Unfortunately, much of the damage has already been done - thousands of care workers have been forced from jobs they love, leaving employers struggling.

“Many staff will also have quit the NHS ahead of this week’s deadline.

“These ill thought out rules have worsened the staffing crisis hampering the NHS and social care and caused significant upset.

“Huge amounts of time and resources, which employers could have spent persuading staff to be vaccinated and on patient care, have been wasted.

“Playing politics with the vaccine risks undermining confidence.

“It will now be harder for employers to persuade staff to get jabbed and the unvaccinated public will be less likely to come forward.”