11th November 2021
11th November 2021
Thousands of unvaccinated care home workers will be unable to work from today as the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination deadline arrives. From today, it is a legal requirement for care home staff in England (unless medically exempt) to be fully vaccinated to continue in their role.
Care homes can choose to redeploy staff into non-frontline roles or place them on paid or unpaid leave until they are fully vaccinated, if necessary. However, for an industry already struggling with staff shortages and those who remain stretched to breaking point, this will be a further blow.
National Care Forum (NCF) members have estimated that they will lose about 8% of their frontline care staff today. Chief Executive, Vic Rayner, stated that care homes have been the “unwitting guinea pigs” throughout the rollout of this policy, which some have branded a “shambles”.[i]
Earlier this week, the health secretary, Sajid Javid announced that Covid-19 vaccines are also to be made mandatory for frontline NHS workers in England. This will be a legal requirement from 1 April 2022.
The majority of NHS workers are already vaccinated, as over 92.8% have had their first dose and 89.9% have had both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. In social care, 83.7% of domiciliary care workers have had their first dose and 74.6% have had both doses.[ii]
Speaking at the House of Commons on 9 November, Sajid Javid warned unvaccinated NHS workers should not be “scapegoated, singled out or shamed” by employers or colleagues, adding that these behaviours would be “totally unacceptable”.[iii]
However, Labour's shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth urged Mr Javid to proceed with caution - pointing to waiting lists for those who need care "close to six million", and more than 90,000 job vacancies across the NHS. “There will be anxiety that chronic understaffing problems could be exacerbated, and we simply cannot afford to lose thousands of NHS staff overnight."[iv]
This is further evidence to show that the NHS and Social Care industry areon the brink of collapse, the mandatory vaccination programme is meant to protect the most vulnerable in our society however, with staff stretched to breaking point, will there be anyone left to provide the necessary care?
For those of us with clients, family and friends in need of care, this is definitely one to watch.