Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has called for greater clarity on mandatory legislation to vaccinate care home staff against coronavirus.
The body has written to the Minister of State for Social Care at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to emphasise its serious and growing concerns in relation to the absence of central guidance and support regarding vaccination as a condition of deployment, particularly around exemptions, the wider consultation, boosters and flu.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, (pictured) said: “We are now under two weeks away from 16 September, which represents the last date for care home workers to get their first dose so that they are fully vaccinated by the time the regulations come into force.
“We are yet to receive any clarity as to when we can expect the process or guidance around exemptions to be launched. This continued lack of clarity undermines the workability of the policy and only accentuates the current workforce issues within the sector.”
Care England said the government had failed to publish further guidance promised last month.
The body said restricting the policy to care homes had created a “two-tiered system” with staff who do not want to be vaccinated likely to transfer to home care or the NHS.
It called for clarity on when the consultation involving the wider social care sector, NHS and flu vaccine will be provided as a “matter of urgency”.
Martin added: “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 spokesperson 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.”