The National Care Forum (NCF) has called on the government to reverse a decision to restrict care staff’s access to the National Booking Service for COVID vaccinations.
It is understood the decision to halt the service, which was made ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, was made as a result of vaccine supply issues.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the NCF, said: “This is an unfathomable decision. The fact that the changes were announced on April Fools’ Day does not help the credibility of a government that on one hand says every care worker must be vaccinated, and in the same breath turns off the most accessible supply tap for those self-same workers.
“There seems no logic in keeping the National Booking Services open for every other priority group, yet closing it off for individual workers in JCVI priority groups 1 and 2. When the National Booking Service became available to all care workers in mid-February, the government used this to demonstrate they had made an offer of vaccination to all workers.
“With that in mind, then the only logical conclusion is to be clear that by taking this action the government has arbitrarily restricted access. Far from addressing any problems in the take up of vaccination amongst care staff, the government has instead created them. Our research has repeatedly shown that access to the vaccine is one of the main barriers for staff take up. With that knowledge under your belt, the decision to remove opportunities for access must swiftly and decisively be reversed.”
CHP has approached NHS England for comment.