Home U.K Care home workers urge Sajid Javid to extend 'no jab – no...

Care home workers urge Sajid Javid to extend 'no jab – no job' deadline


A RECENT leak has suggested it will be mandated that all staff (some 1.2 million) will be required next spring to receive a full course of the Covid vaccination to continue to work in or to join the NHS.

It has been suggested April has been chosen to introduce this to reduce the risk of an exodus of staff over the winter months, ensuring the health service can remain viable through its busiest period.

So why then is it still the case that on Thursday the jab mandate for those working in care homes will come into force?

Since the announcement earlier this year, social care providers have been raising their concerns over the impact of making vaccination a condition of employment will have on the sector.

Just under an estimated 60,000 staff have yet to receive a full course of the vaccination, meaning they could be set to leave the sector (by default) come one minute past midnight on Thursday.

They will be leaving the same sector that currently already has circa 115,000 job vacancies and one that already has many businesses on the brink of collapse. A recent survey found just over 63 per cent of respondents were concerned their business may close if staffing levels decline further.

Parity is something I talk about a lot between health and social care, yet I would be remiss not to acknowledge the people we support in homes, on average, are in clinically extremely vulnerable categories when we consider protection from the virus in comparison with hospitals. I understand the desire to mandate to protect. However, if we end up losing a large portion of the social care workforce, we run the risk of putting many people living in care at further harm due to staffing shortages.

If we don’t have a fully functioning social care sector in place to support the NHS, then throughout the winter period we will only increase the burden on the NHS.

We must remember we are talking about people. They aren’t bed blockers, or numbers or statistics. They are people who just need to be in a safe environment so they can live their lives to the utmost.

It’s my hope the Government will listen to the concerns of the sector and put a hiatus on Thursday’s mandate.

No one would think any less of the Government.

Pushing the mandate to April will show they are listening and are doing what they can to protect everybody involved.

It will provide more time for the Government to support and inform employers better on how to go around terminating employment for those unwilling to have the vaccine, as there has been very little support, and it will also allow health and social care to navigate it together.

Postponing will also allow the new “Made with Care” recruitment campaign to be effective. Announcing it, seven days before, to staff we expect to leave left a sour taste.

It should have either been announced with plenty of foresight so people could be recruited and inducted prior to Thursday, or the date needs to move for us to recruit in preparation. It’s never too early for a Christmas miracle.

‘We risk putting many in care at further harm due to staffing shortages’

Adam Purnell is the director of Social Care at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management

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