England’s largest membership body for independent adult social care providers has hit out at a lack of clarity from the Government over its mandatory vaccination policy for care home staff.
The Government has said that from November 11, all staff in registered care homes in England must be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they are to continue working, unless they are medically exempt.
This means staff must get their first dose by September 16 – a week on Thursday.
With less than a fortnight to go, Care England said there is no sign of promised guidance concerning those who are exempt.
It said the continued lack of clarity “undermines the workability of the policy and only accentuates the current workforce issues” in the sector.
Also lacking is a public consultation on extending the policy to more frontline health and care staff, first announced in June.
The Government will be seeking views on extending the mandatory vaccination condition to more social care staff and healthcare workers, and also on making the flu jab compulsory.
The PA news agency understands the guidance and consultation will be published shortly, ahead of September 16.
Care England said the existing policy for care home staff is affecting recruitment and has created a “two-tiered” system, with staff who oppose it likely to transfer into other social care services or the NHS.
Clarity on the wider consultation is needed “as a matter of urgency”, it added.
Professor Martin Green, Care England chief executive, said: “Providers are in the midst 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.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The vast majority of care staff are already vaccinated and, ahead of the November deadline, we are focusing on encouraging even more staff to get jabbed to protect their colleagues and those they care for.”