Leading care home operators have given their responses following anger at news their CEOs had been given COVID vaccinations.
In a report by the Daily Mail, relatives voiced their anger at social media posts showing Barchester CEO Dr Pete Calveley, MHA CEO Sam Monaghan and Orchard Care Homes CEO Hayden Knight receiving their COVID shots, while more than three quarters of residents still awaited their jabs.
Jenny Townsend, the daughter of a resident with Alzheimer’s at a Barchester home in Chester, told the Mail she was “incensed”, adding a jab was her only hope of seeing her “rapidly deteriorating” mother. “It is simply unjust,” she added.
Tania Le Marinel, whose mother was isolating at an Orchard home that had suffered a second COVID outbreak in a month, said she was “appalled” by the post of boss Hayden Knight receiving his jab.
Responding to the Mail’s report, MHA CEO, Sam Monaghan, said: “When you lead an organisation in the sector that has seen the worst ravages of COVID-19, you do everything you can to urge and publicise to your care home colleagues and the broader public how vital it is that they get the vaccine. MHA is doing everything possible to support residents and staff to have the vaccine and my receiving it is part of encouraging and reassuring them to do so. Vaccination relies on the cooperation of everybody taking it up, so we must be seen to fully embrace it as a good.”
A Barchester spokesperson said Dr Calvelely had “stepped up” during the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine “to show leadership” and encourage others to do so.
Barchester said Dr Calveley visited at least 100 services a year in “normal times” to meet residents, patients and staff and had taken on the responsibility of being COO. Barchester said Dr Calveley was looking forward to resuming regular care home visits as soon as possible.
“Our senior staff that have received the vaccine have done so either because of their operational roles or to lead by example and give staff and residents further assurance that the vaccine is safe and that receiving this is the best course of action to keep our residents, patients and staff as safe as possible,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Orchard Care Homes said staff had worked hard to ensure that their residents were among the first to receive vaccines in early December.
Orchard said almost 60% of residents and 40% of staff had received their first jabs, well above the national rate, with the government reporting that just under a quarter of residents had been vaccinated as of Monday.