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Call for guidance around mandatory vaccinations

Royds Withy King is calling for urgent guidance around exemptions to mandatory vaccinations in care homes.

Vaccinations are set to become a condition of employment in care homes from November 11 and that those unwilling to get vaccinated could face dismissal unless they are exempt.

However, James Sage, employment partner and head of social care at Royds Withy King, warns that care home providers have been left without any guidance on key issues.

‘One of the major problems with DHSC’s guidance is that it fails to provide clarity around what counts as a medical exemption and how staff can evidence it. Further guidance has been promised but has still not materialised.

‘Until exemptions guidance is published, providers cannot properly consult with staff asserting an exemption. Consultation processes are being delayed, and care provider’s face significantly increased costs in having to pay in lieu of notice for staff who are found not to be exempt.

‘The DHSC has also failed to provide guidance on how to obtain evidence of vaccination from staff vaccinated abroad with a UK-authorised vaccine.

‘Providers run the risk of not being able to employ these fully vaccinated staff after 11 November, thereby unnecessarily increasing the risk of losing staff from the sector.

‘We are calling on the DHSC to provide the much-needed guidance as a matter of urgency.’

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it is working closely with providers, councils, and our partners to assess the situation and consider what further action may be necessary and when.

DHSC said through public consultation it has listened to the experiences and concerns of providers and people living and working in care homes to shape its approach.

‘We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the social care workforce and are working with local authorities and providers to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high-quality care to meet increasing demands.

‘The vast majority of care staff are already vaccinated and we are focusing on encouraging even more staff to get jabbed to protect their colleagues and those they care for.

‘Our message is clear: vaccines save lives and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk for vulnerable people in care homes.’

Photo Credit – Marisol Benitez

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