Nadra Ahmed OBE, chief executive of the National Care Association, has called for a review of care worker vaccination legislation as the sector faces the loss of up to 40,000 workers.
Nadra spoke to CHP as the latest NHS figures show that 81.6% of eligible staff in England had received their second dose as of 22 August with 90.6% of staff having had their first dose.
All care home staff are required to be fully vaccinated by 11 November under legislation introduced by the government.
The Department of Health and Social Care has estimated that 7% of the care workforce, or around 40,000 workers, could lose their jobs due to not being fully vaccinated.
Nadra said: “The fact that MPs voted to bring this legislation in, without an impact assessment, demonstrates the total lack of understanding or empathy with those that care for the most vulnerable members of our communities. The consultation responses were ignored: the fact that there was shortage was ignored, the reality that our workforce was exhausted was ignored!
“There has been no recognition of the consequences of this deliberate move to ignore the facts has left vulnerable people, who rely on care and support from our care services, in a precarious position as they watch the staffing crisis unfold before their eyes. Every Parliamentarian who voted for this, without looking at the evidence, is complicit in letting vulnerable people and those that care for them down.
“This decision should be reviewed as a matter of urgency; we cannot afford to lose an additional 40,000 from our workforce above the 115,000 vacancies which we are currently struggling to fill. Those exiting our services may be a short-term fix for the NHS as they can work there unvaccinated but how does that create a sustainable care and support pathway for those who need social care support?”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The government is working with employers to ensure we have the right number of staff to meet increasing demands and this includes running national recruitment campaigns every year.
“We are continuing to work with the care sector to encourage adult social care and care home staff to get vaccinated.
“To support social care providers through the pandemic we have provided local authorities with billions of pounds in funding. We will soon be outlining reforms to the adult social care system, with proposals being brought forward later this year.”