Current regulations making vaccines a condition of employment for health and social care staff are set to be revoked, subject to public consultation and Parliamentary approval, the Health and Social Care Secretary, Savid Javid, announced yesterday. But already 40,000 care workers have been forced out and many NHS staff have quit their jobs.
The policy, which required staff to be double jabbed, has been in place in care homes since November and, according to the Government’s own estimates, has cost the workforce 40,000 staff.
UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea said the decision was the right but added, ‘It shouldn’t have taken the government so long to realise the huge mistake it was making. Thousands of care workers have been forced from jobs they love, leaving employers struggling. Many staff will also have quit the NHS ahead of this week’s deadline. These ill-thought-out rules have worsened the staffing crisis, hampering the NHS and social care, and caused significant upset. Huge amounts of time and resources, which employers could have spent persuading staff to be vaccinated and on patient care, have been wasted.’
Meanwhile, home care leaders have raised concerns about the timing of the consultation given that unvaccinated would need to have their first jabs by Thursday of this week (3 February) in order to have had their second by the deadline of 31 March.
Homecare Association Chief Executive Jane Towson tweeted that some providers were already starting dismissal processes in order to meet the deadlines, and that the DHSC had not provided guidance on what they should do. Before yesterday’s announcement, health and social care workers in England needed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the 1st of April, 2022. That meant employers had to make sure their staff received their first dose by the 3rd of February at the latest. The government’s hurried announcement has put many health and social care providers in England in a very difficult position…
- The laws on mandatory vaccination for health and social care workers are still in place for now, so should bosses continue with the dismissal process for unvaccinated staff?
- Many unvaccinated care home workers may have been dismissed already, so should employers rehire them?
- And if the law is removed, how will employers deal with any regulatory guidance that replaces it?
These are tough questions for managers to answer. Many HR Consultancies are now helping providers deal with these challenges. Once such consultancy, Peninsula, have already said that their team is on hand to help providers navigate these challenging regulations and stay on the right side of the law when managing their staff. Peninsula advisers can be contacted on 0844 892 2772.