Scarborough care home boss expresses concern over compulsory vaccinations for staff

Mike PadghamMike Padgham
Mike Padgham
The boss of Scarborough-based St Cecilia's Care Group, Mike Padgham, has expressed concern over a new law which will require everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated.

The government announced yesterday that people working in CQC-registered care homes will need to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated with both doses.

The decision followed an extensive public consultation with thousands of staff, providers, residents and families.

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The government believes that care home residents will be better protected from death and serious illness, if staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mr Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, is a supporter of vaccination, however he has expressed concern at the implementation of the new law.

He said: “We live in a free country. Who are we to say a person must have something injected into their body if they don’t want to… or lose their job.

“It should be voluntary, not compulsory.

“People are worried already, They’re worried about what’s going to happen to them - especially when they’ve worked all this time without a vaccine.

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“We’ve already started removing non-vaccinated staff from the front line. 95% of our staff are vaccinated, but we can’t afford to lose the others. In Scarborough people are struggling with recruitment in hospitality and social care, I don’t know where everyone has gone.

“We won’t be making anyone redundant.

“We owe our staff a debt of gratitude, it’s not a nice way to say thank you to say if you don’t have the vaccine then you’ll lose your job.”

The new legislation, which will come into force in October – subject to parliamentary approval and a subsequent 16 week grace period - means that anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption.

It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.

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Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.

There will also be exceptions for visiting family and friends, under 18s, emergency services and people undertaking urgent maintenance work.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated we need to do everything we can to keep reducing the risk.

“We have a responsibility to do all we can to safeguard those receiving care including in the NHS and so will be consulting further on whether to extend to other health and social care workers.

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“This is the right thing to do and a vitally important step to continue protecting care homes now and in the future. I’d urge anyone working in care homes to get their jab as soon as possible.”

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “People working in care homes have played an incredibly important role throughout the pandemic caring for those most at risk from this terrible virus.

“The vaccine is working, with over 14,000 lives saved so far. It’s only right that we take every possible step to protect those most at risk now and in the long term.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge everyone working in social care to take up the jab if they haven’t already to protect those they care for, themselves and those they work alongside.”