Care home operators, including those for children and adults with learning disabilities, are under “huge pressure” to meet the November deadline for workers and volunteers to be double jabbed with the Covid-19 vaccination.
From November 11, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will have a duty to monitor care homes in England to ensure they are complying the new vaccination rules.
As of that date, registered managers or providers will need to demonstrate that they are not allowing anyone into their home unless they have been double jabbed or can prove that they fall into one of the groups exempt from being vaccinated.
The new rules, enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021, are the latest strain on care home owners and operators.
Vaccination regulations is a further strain on residential care homes
Elissa Thursfield, Managing Director of HR consultancy HR Anchor, said: “We are receiving dozens of calls from care home operators and their managers who are under huge pressure to comply with the new regulations when they are enforced from November 11.
“This is a sector which is still reeling from the double whammy of the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit and the severe impact both have had on the staffing of homes.
“For owners and managers busy with the day-to-day running of their homes, having to negotiate the minefield of vaccination regulations is a further strain. The looming November 11 deadline is likely to increase the pressures on staffing at a time when staffing shortages are already a challenge.”
Reasons for exemption currently include those receiving end of life care, people who have some allergies as well as a selection of other very limited reasons.
However, employees are bringing arguments ranging from religious reasons, political and human rights. Exemptions are currently implemented on a self-certification basis which is expected to be replaced by the Covid-Pass.
Elissa added: “Exemption from the requirement for vaccination is nothing short of a minefield and operators are right to be wary of taking any actions that may come back to bite them.
“There are a series of processes that must be followed to protect a care home in the event of a decision being taken to dismiss an employee including demonstrating that a home has acted reasonably and following a fair procedure.”
HR Anchor has produced a set of free to access template documents and other resources to enable care homes to navigate their way through the new regulations.
The new rules also cover other people entering a care home such as tradespeople, healthcare professionals, hairdressers and beauticians. Friends and relatives and residents themselves are exempt from the regulations.
Wales is not making double vaccination mandatory, however the issue of how to manage those who are unvaccinated remains a concern for care home managers.