Leading care home provider Barchester Healthcare has said it won’t hire people who refuse to have the COVID vaccine on non-medical grounds.
The leading operator’s announcement follows reports that up to one in five care home workers are declining vaccinations.
A Barchester spokesperson told CHP: “Our current position is that we are will not hire someone who has refused to have the vaccine on non-medical grounds. We have not said that we will sack staff who refuse the vaccine on non-medical grounds; instead we have brought in behavioural nudges which we hope will encourage staff to be cognisant of the responsibility we have to protect our residents and relatives. Staff can make their own choice about whether to have the vaccine but we strongly encourage it.”
Measures designed to encourage uptake include linking vaccination to bonuses and promotions. Barchester added that people who refuse a vaccine who then contract COVID-19 will not receive enhanced sick pay.
The strong line has been met with opposition amongst some workers, however.
Staff members told the Northampton Chronicle: “We are all extremely hurt by this and should not be forced to have the vaccine if it is against our wishes.
“Many staff members have had the vaccine when they did not want it due to being pressurised into having it.
“The government has not made the vaccine mandatory so we are all within our rights to refuse it.”