Care England: providers left in the dark over Covid jab exemptions
Care England has written to social care minister Helen Whately to highlight growing sector concern over an absence of central guidance and support regarding exemptions to mandatory vaccination rules for care home staff.
The largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care said it has yet to receive any clarity as to when the sector can expect the process or guidance around exemptions to be launched.
The Department of Health and Social Care’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance published on 4 August states that “guidance for certification is being developed and we [the DHSC] will add a link to this guidance here as soon as it’s published.”
However, this guidance has not been published to date.
Care England chief executive Martin Green (pictured) said the lack of clarity “undermines the workability of the policy and only accentuates the current workforce issues within the sector.”
“We are now under two weeks away from the 16 September, which represents the last date for care home workers to get their first dose so that they are fully vaccinated by the time the regulations come into force,” he added.
Compounding this issue, says Care England, is the 'no jab, no job' rules are exclusive to residential adult social care settings, which, it argues, has continued to undermine the parity between the NHS and social care.
“Our membership has evidenced that the policy is already impacting the recruitment of staff; the policy has created a two-tiered system,” it said.
“Staff who work in residential care who do not want to be vaccinated are likely to transfer into home care or the NHS. As such, clarity in relation to when the wider consultation, which will encompass the wider social care sector, the NHS and flu vaccine, needs to be provided as a matter of urgency.”
Green said care providers are in the grip of a “perfect storm”.
“The sector is operating against a backdrop of a multitude of workforce pressures and this lack of clarity only compounds these issues.
“We implore the department to remain transparent with the sector and give it the help that it needs, as after all this is a centrally imposed policy which the sector is now having to manage, largely without central support.”