COVID 19 Compulsory Vaccines for Care Workers

Neil Russell, chairman of PJ Care, said it will take years “in terms of recruitment, training and competency” to replace this exodus of staff.

He added: “And we have 20 staff currently self-certified with a combined service of 26,872 days or 74 years of experience.

“We are focusing on either completing their exemptions or getting them vaccinated before the end of the year to avoid losing them.”

The government estimated that seven per cent of care home staff in England, which equates to 38,000 care workers, may leave the care home sector due to the policy.

“We’re spending £50,000 on a recruitment campaign to attract nurses, carers, housekeepers and maintenance staff – all roles that have been affected by Brexit, mandatory vaccinations and the usual turnover of staff,” adds Mr Russell. “We’re even looking to the Philippines and Africa to recruit nursing staff.”

Back in July, he said: "First of all, I must stress that the safety of our residents is paramount. We encourage all of our team to be vaccinated as it is a key element in keeping our residents safe.

"We provide staff with the very latest information and are always willing to answer their questions and concerns. However, doubts will always remain for some.

“These may be health related, there may be cultural concerns or not sufficient reassurances yet for expectant mothers or those who want to start a family. For them, there will be no option other than to leave the profession."

His concerns about the impact of the plan were echoed by a number of other bodies including Age UK, the Independent Care Group and the National Care Association.

"It's disappointing because this move feels like a lack of respect for care staff who have given so much during the pandemic. It assumes they can easily be replaced by people who have a greater sense of duty or responsibility to the elderly and the vulnerable. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Ahead of the deadline, Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth urged Mr Javid to proceed with caution - pointing to waiting lists "close to six million" and more than 90,000 job vacancies across the NHS.

There will be anxiety that chronic understaffing problems could be exacerbated, he said. "We simply cannot afford to lose thousands of NHS staff overnight."

In Hertfordshire, almost 300 staff members left their jobs in Hertfordshire care homes in the weeks before the 11 November deadline adding to the numbers of job vacancies in the care sector.

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