Since the Government announced mandatory vaccination requirements for all care home workers, enquiries to us from care home employers have increased in relation to the enforcement of mandatory vaccines for their staff. Here, we set out the key points of the governments rules.
Who do the regulations apply to?
From the 11 November 2021, all care home workers and anyone entering a care home, will need to be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt under the regulations. The mandatory requirement to be vaccinated will also cover those who enter a care home building, regardless of their role. This is likely to include other health care professionals, tradespeople and CQC inspectors.
A care home, for the purposes of the regulations, is considered to be a premises that provides accommodation together with nursing or personal care to individuals. The regulations do not therefore currently apply to domiciliary care.
Next steps for care home employers
A 16-week grace period has now started to run and the regulations will come into force on the 11 November 2021. Care home workers and other workers covered by the regulations must have received both doses of the covid-19 vaccine by this date unless they are medically exempt, which leaves little time for those individuals who are currently unvaccinated to receive a full vaccination course by the deadline.
It is advisable for care home employers to use this time to prepare for the changes that are being implemented. This will involve reviewing and collating the vaccination status of all relevant individuals and consulting with those who are yet to be vaccinated. Starting this as soon as possible will ensure employers avoid disruption to service delivery and ensure that they meet the requirements under the new regulations.
Concerns over mandatory vaccines for care home workers
Concerns for care home employers will include:
- Dealing with those individuals who refuse to have the vaccine
- Monitoring vaccine uptake amongst staff
- Ensuring policies and procedures are in line with the new regulations
- The appropriate action to take with those who are medically exempt or simply refuse to be vaccinated
The CQC have recently released a statement which confirms they will want assurance from all care homes that they will have robust governance processes to monitor the vaccination status of staff and ensure staff maintain an up to date vaccination status. The CQC will continue to monitor and inspect providers to ensure they are compliant with the regulations and the normal enforcement procedures will apply.
Care home employers are encouraged to seek advice on any particular issues they are facing, before taking any action. Further guidance is awaited as to the precise clinical exemptions that apply to the requirement to be fully vaccinated in these circumstances and we shall provide a further update when this is received.
For more advice on the next steps to take in relation to the vaccination status of your care home employees or assistance with any other employment law matters, please contact the Employment Law Team.