At least 70,000 care home workers will refuse to comply with the Government’s compulsory COVID jabs ruling in October and may quit their jobs and leave the sector, a leading expert has warned.
Tim Jones (pictured), a former frontline care worker, manager and care business owner himself who has spent over 10 years working in the sector, also forecast that “hundreds” of UK care homes will be forced to close, resulting in residents’ safety and welfare suffering as a reduced workforce face longer shifts to fill in “gaps” in rotas.
Last month, over 60,000 people signed a petition against the government plan to make vaccines mandatory.
Despite these findings, MPs voted on July 13 to approve compulsory vaccinations for care home staff in England.
Tim, a Master of Business Administration who guides care home operators across the UK to build more robust and sustainable care businesses, said he believed it is “entirely realistic” that at least one in 10 of the current 700,000 care homes’ workforce will rebel.
Advising and consulting with business leaders and managers across the sector on a daily basis, Tim has built up a unique, grassroots and up-to-date understanding of challenges facing care homes’ management and staff.
He told CHP: “With the total UK care home workforce now at nearly 700,000, my feedback from speaking with people on the ground all the time, plus the recent petition and poll, suggests it’s entirely realistic to imagine that when the Government ruling comes in, at least 10% of staff will refuse to comply.
“Many in the younger generations of care home workers will quit because they are already traumatised by recent events in the pandemic and now feel concerns about the safety of the jab and prefer not to have it. They’re not particularly anti-vaxxers, but will fight back because vaccinations are being made compulsory and against their wishes.
“For many, it’s already an unattractive industry to work in. These care home workers face burnout and will look for other roles on similar pay in other industries. They can go and stack shelves, become delivery drivers or dog walkers for the same pay and have much less pressure.
“Care home workers are being asked to make a choice between staying in the care sector or leaving. Many feel this decision to make vaccinations compulsory goes against their choice, their human right, their belief, so they will just walk away and find something else.”
Pressure from employers and resistance from staff will inevitably see a sharp rise in tensions, disputes and increased staff burnout, said Tim.
“As thousands of care home workers quit, many in protest at the compulsory COVID vaccinations ruling, it will lead to our worst-ever staffing crisis and gridlock as owners struggle to find other personnel,” Tim added.
“The core members of the team will be stretched too far. It’ll be bursting at the seams and they’ll not be able to recruit new staff. There’s a nervousness around new staff joining and it’s harder than ever to get staff members.
“Despite there being record levels of people looking for care homes for loved ones, care homes may well just start recruiting people into the role who ordinarily they wouldn’t, lowering the bar in terms of their recruitment policy, just to get feet on the ground.”
Another knock-on effect of the vaccinations ruling may risk impacting on residents’ quality of care, desired outcomes and safety. With remaining staff under extra pressure, corners may be cut.
Tim added: “Safety will be a concern because, with less staff employed, remaining staff will be asked to work longer hours, even sometimes double shifts. They will not get the chance to rest, relax and recover. They will be asked to work harder than they’ve ever worked before and mistakes will happen.
“Medications may be missed, corners might be cut. Staff won’t be able to spend so much time with residents, resulting in care needs not being met or leaving residents vulnerable to falls or injury.”