Throughout the pandemic, our care home workers have been indispensable when it comes to supporting and protecting those most at risk from Covid-19. All healthcare assistants in the sector have been instrumental in this unparalleled time and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep those who they care for safe. But as healthcare assistants are well aware, from November the 11th, the government has announced that any individual who works inside a care home, specifically a CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered care home in the UK, must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to continue their employment unless they are medically exempt to reduce the risk of residents developing the virus.
This also applies to most individuals who enter the premises of a care home for work, including:
More recently, the government has released a statement confirming that for frontline NHS workers, the vaccination mandate will not be enforced until April 2022. Whilst this does not directly affect the care homes we support, it will impact the already exacerbating skills shortages within the care sector. In order to justify the reasons behind the mandate, Public Health England has released data on the effectiveness of the vaccine which shows that the programme has, so far, prevented around 14,000 deaths and 42,000 hospitalisations of elderly people in England.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:
“People working in care homes have played an incredibly important role throughout the pandemic caring for those most at risk from this terrible virus. The vaccine is working, with over 14,000 lives saved so far. It’s only right that we take every possible step to protect those most at risk now and in the long term.”
Care home UK has warned that the impact of imposing this mandatory vaccine on healthcare workers may be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Care home staff are urging the government to “listen to the sector” and stop the “disruption” and warns that the deadline does not give health and social care workers and care homes enough time to avoid adding a “multitude of workforce pressures” to the already diminishing talent pool.
When exploring the reaction to this news elsewhere in the UK, the feeling of unnecessary disturbance seems to be the norm. Sunil Kapil, managing director of Kapil Care Homes commented, “recruitment is being hindered by the decision to make vaccines mandatory for those working in care homes. There will be people, I suspect, who aren’t applying for jobs in the social care sector knowing they will have to be vaccinated. It hasn’t helped in the already challenging recruitment environment we have at the moment.”
Care worker, Louise Akester, who refused the Covid-19 vaccination said she believed she was being forced to quit the job she loved. Louise cited the lack of evidence for long-term side effects not yet being available as to the reason she has refused the vaccine. While the National Care Association has urged the government to delay the jab deadline to give staff more time to make their decisions, this is looking increasingly unlikely.
For care homes, the potential impact this mandate will have on staffing is understandably a concern. News has been circulating regarding the skills shortages within the healthcare sector for several years. The impact of Brexit on skills availability has already been felt, and the Covid-19 pandemic only exacerbated this issue.
But while it may be a tough hiring market, we know there are great candidates out there – in fact, we have a significant number of candidates in our database ready to support care homes across the East Midlands as and when needed. So, how can care homes find the resources they need?
Whilst the seemingly overwhelming coverage of the vaccine mandate is focussing on staff availability, we are here to let you know that QS Care will always ensure the best recruitment solutions are provided for our clients.
More than 170 healthcare establishments across the East Midlands have benefitted from using QS Care in the last 12 months alone. Now more than ever, we understand that providing quick and compliant solutions is essential for any downfall due to staff shortages, and our priority is to work with our clients to ensure that we keep their business running smoothly at all times.
If you are looking for top-quality healthcare assistants, contact us today.