On 9th November, the UK government broke the news that Covid-19 vaccination is mandatory for health and social care workers to continue in their jobs from 1st April 2022.
Although this development isn’t a total surprise - care home workers are already subject to mandatory Covid vaccines - you probably have concerns about how this will impact your home care agency.
In this article, we’ll talk through what we know up to now and what mandatory home care vaccinations mean for your business.
What did the announcement actually say?
On 9th November, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that health and social care workers in the UK who work in a patient-facing role must receive the Covid vaccination unless they are exempt. The exact details of how this will all work are as yet unclear, but we can assume it will follow a similar rollout to the mandating of Covid vaccinations for care home workers that took effect from 11th November.
Want to know more? We’d suggest reading the full transcript of Sajid Javid’s speech here, government guidance on who is exempt from Covid vaccination here. Although the CQC is yet to make an official statement about the new rules, you can read its response to mandatory vaccinations for care homes here.
When will mandatory vaccinations for home care come into force?
From 1st April 2022, anyone who fails to meet these requirements will not be able to deliver frontline care in a health or social care setting, including in the NHS and home care services. This deadline allows just enough time for unvaccinated people to receive both Covid jabs in time.
How will this affect your home care business?
- The biggest impact on your home care business will be the loss of staff who choose to leave their position rather than receive the Covid vaccinations. It’s thought that this ruling may result in a loss of up to 35,000 social care workers.
- As a manager, expect to take responsibility for checking and enforcing the rule in your workplace. When the government rolled out mandatory vaccinations for care home workers on 11th November, they placed the responsibility for enforcing it onto employers. We can assume that the same will be true in the case of home care providers.
- You’ll need robust contingency plans. Start talking to your staff about their thoughts on vaccination; you might find that most or all of your workforce are already vaccinated or are willing to be. However, there’s still the potential that some people might leave their job, and you need to be ready to find cover if necessary. (For help on recruiting in a crisis, download our eBook: Fast track recruitment: How to recruit in a crisis.)
- As yet, it’s unclear exactly how this ruling will work in practice, although it’s likely that you’ll need to keep a record of carers’ vaccination status to show during CQC inspections. Make sure you have strong auditing processes in place to accommodate this additional work.
What happens now?
- Staff who want to be fully vaccinated by the deadline of 1st April need to receive the first dose of vaccine within the next 8 weeks, so encourage willing staff members to get booked in.
- Talk to your team about your home care agency values and how Covid vaccinations can help to keep your clients and each other safe.
- Identify staff who are reluctant to get vaccinated so you can plan ahead. You can choose to redeploy them into an office role, or they might choose to leave their position.
- If you think this new rule will cause gaps in your workforce, start recruiting now to avoid hiring in a panic at the last minute.
- Identify which carers are medically exempt and ask them to provide evidence for your records before the 1st April deadline.
- Lead by example - if you haven’t yet had your vaccination, book up asap (and encourage your colleagues to go with you).
This news has undoubtedly rocked the health and social care industry. Although there are tough times ahead, Birdie is here to help. We can support you through the challenges that mandatory Covid vaccinations might bring, including staff management and recruitment and maintaining secure staff records that comply with CQC regulations. Find out more about our platform and arrange a free demo.