Daily news bulletin: Hundreds of unjabbed NHS workers in Wirral face the sack

WATCH: Your latest news update for Merseyside.

Almost 400 NHS workers in Wirral are facing the sack when the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate comes in.

The mandate means staff must be double jabbed by April 1, but anyone who has not had their first jab would need to receive it by February 3 to allow enough time for their second dose.

Figures show that out of the 6,441 staff at Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust, which runs Arrowe Park Hospital, 390 have not had their first dose of the vaccine – and face losing their jobs.

Estephanie Dunn, regional director at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) North West, urged the Government to delay bringing in the vaccine mandate, saying it could “significantly impact” the availability of staff.

Ms Dunn said: “The RCN strongly recommends all members are vaccinated as soon as they can. It is considered best practice to protect themselves, service users, as well as friends and family.

A Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust spokesperson said: “Our top priority is patient safety and having the vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19 for both our patients and staff.”

More funding for businesses hit by Omicron

Small and micro businesses outside the business rates system seriously affected by Omicron are being offered grants.

One-off grants of £1,000 are available for home-based businesses and £3,000 for companies with commercial premises.

In addition to the national Omicron Leisure and Hospitality Grant, administered by local authorities for businesses in commercial premises impacted by Omicron, the Liverpool City Region has been awarded £1.87m from the Government’s additional £102m for local authorities in England.

This funding is intended to support small and micro businesses outside the business rates system seriously affected by Omicron, particularly those in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors. Grants will be distributed on a “first come, first served” basis.

Funding for Liverpool John Lennon Airport

A report will be drawn up to consider the impact of removing funding support from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Initially, Green Party members sought the local authority to strip funding entirely, with opposition councillors reluctantly accepting the report.