Regulator staff accused of jumping Covid vaccine queue at Richmondshire hub

Tennants in Leyburn.

Health campaigners have voiced disbelief following claims young and healthy national health and social care regulator staff have used wriggle room in the Government’s rules to “jump the queue” for Covid vaccinations.

Doctors and patients in the Richmondshire area of North Yorkshire said they had been stunned to see people in their 20s attending the Leyburn clinic for vaccines, as Government rules explicitly state only elderly and frail people should receive the jab in the first wave, alongside inoculation programmes for frontline workers at health and social care settings.

NHS whistleblowers said it had emerged the younger people attending the Richmondshire clinic were Care Quality Commission (CQC) staff based at offices in Middlesbrough, about 40 miles away.

The whistleblowers, whose names are withheld, said CQC staff had prioritised themselves over vulnerable elderly patients.

One of the whistleblowers said: “CQC staff have been able to book slots, despite working from home, being healthy and not at risk.

“It’s hard to agree that healthy people in their third decade should be given a shot ahead of those in their eighth decade.”

The CQC has not responded to many of the whistleblowers’ claims, but said local NHS bosses were allowed to make exceptions to the Government’s rules.

A CQC spokeswoman said: “Some CCGs have taken a local decision to offer vaccinations to staff who work across the wider health and social care system – this includes CQC inspectors who are visiting services where we have information of concern about the care people are receiving, or where an inspection means that a location can be approved to care for people leaving hospital who cannot return to their original care setting for infection control reasons.”

When asked for its position on the issue, a spokesman for NHS North Yorkshire CCG, which covers the Leyburn area, emphasised the selection of people to be offered the vaccine in the first wave of the programme was “a national decision”.

However, the statutory GP’s body for the area, the local medical committee, has decided the CQC’s work is vital to the NHS, and as its staff could be needed to visit sites facing serious issues at short notice, vaccinating them was not unreasonable.

Richmondshire councillor Stuart Parsons said the CQC staff should be having the vaccines at their base, “not travelling across country and parading themselves in front of old and vulnerable people”.

He said: “Richmondshire has a large advanced stage population and they’re all concerned about when they’re going to get their vaccines, so this is almost an incentive to riot. If I’d been locked in for almost a year and then see youngsters piling in and getting the vaccine I’d be absolutely furious.”

Health campaigner and former North Yorkshire scrutiny of health committee chairman Councillor Jim Clark said: “I don’t want the programme distracted by people trying to jump the queue or not trying to jump the queue. People need to have confidence in the system.

“We need a definitive answer on this and in the past have not listened to whistleblowers at our cost. We’ve had so many slip-ups over the last year and we need to get this right.”


  1. I totally agree with the CQC employees having priority. They are front line staff who inspect care settings ensuring our vulnerable groups are being cared for appropriately. If CQC workers aren’t vaccinated sooner rather than later then inspections of premises housing vulnerable groups will be delayed for an unacceptable duration.

  2. Why, when we are supposed to ‘stay at home’ are people able to travel long distances even if they should be vaccinated? My sister in law, a nurse, had to travel from Spennymoor to Harrogate to get hers! Crazy. Also spreading the virus unnecessaryly.

  3. My 94 year old father in Richmond had to miss his first vaccine appointment offered due to a higher priority medical appointment. Nobody could confirm his position on the list or offer a second appointment until we raised a complaint. It’s disgusting these young people are getting their vaccine early when those much higher in the queue still have to be vaccinated.

  4. As a nurse in a Care Home Setting, why isn’t the CQC organising the vaccination of their ” important staff” locally? They are always very keen to ensure Nursing Homes are following “the rules” and Government advice. Do they believe they can be less accountable?

  5. Typical of cqc, think they more important than the people they are ment to be concerned about, put their selves first. They obviously don’t care about the vulnerable. Should have stayed in their own area. They have no conscience.

  6. Alan Lomax.My wifes carers have only just been offered vaccine and have to travel to Harrogate.Is this because people are jumping Q

  7. CQC staff are likely to be involved in visiting care homes, hospices, GP practices and other health facilities across a wide area of the country. They have a very good case to be vaccinated as a priority as they are potential vectors for covid infection that could easily have a disastrous impact on a care home or similar facility. They will be getting the vaccine in order to protect the most vulnerable in our society and not to protect themselves.

  8. I have had many CQC visits in my long career as a Senior Nurse. There is no circumstance where an inspector would need to be anywhere near a close, personal care situation,or within an unsafe distance of a resident. Suitable PPE would be sufficient. There is no evidence at the moment that the vaccine prevents transmission of the virus and 29 something’s are at miniscule risk of serious illness. The Government have given local bosses power to decide vaccination priorities in their area and they are prioritising themselves over more vulnerable people they are employed to protect. My parents are both in their 90’s and are receiving care from many different “unvaccinated” carers each week. They are housebound and cannot get to the Leyburn hub. Placing young CQC professionals in a higher priority is a travesty. They are working from home, it claims on the CQC website and that they “might” need to visit residential homes. What about the carers in those homes, who are required to give the closest care and may be in their 50’sand 60’s, still waiting for their call to be vaccinated?

  9. Whatever justifications are put forward, the actions of these young people leaves a feeling of distaste and unease; the end result is that they’ve helped themselves to vaccinations by virtue of their employment that would otherwise have gone to older people at greater risk. If I was one of those youngsters vaccinated I’d be too ashamed to admit it.

  10. The CQC should issue a clear statement on how many staff were vaccinated and their justification. Were they all front line staff? Why did they see fit to come to Leyburn? Madness and they should know it would cause resentment.

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