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Care homes brace to lose 8% of staff as mandatory Covid vaccination begins



Care providers fear they will lose 8% of workers, a survey has found, with all care home staff in England required to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 from 11 November,

The National Care Forum (NCF), which represents around 300 services and 14,000 staff through its not-for-profit member organisations, surveyed members between 2 and 8 November – and found they estimate 3.5% of staff have already left because of resignation or dismissal and a further 4.4% might yet leave.  

Vic Rayner, chief executive of NCF, concluded the ‘true cost’ of mandatory vaccinations has been ‘very high’ and has resulted in a ‘loss of trust and goodwill’ among care home employees.

‘Care homes have been the unwitting guinea pigs through the implementation of this policy, and the impact on people must not be swept under the carpet,’ she added.

The survey also found 91% of respondents said implementing the policy required extra HR time, 93% had to run additional one-one sessions with staff to talk them through the policy and its implications, while 74% had to provide whole team briefings for their workforce.

Meanwhile, 53% of respondents said they had paid additional costs for legal advice about the policy, while 58% have had to run disciplinary hearings and 40% manage appeals.

Ms Rayner added: ‘[The policy] has absorbed a huge amount of time and energy of staff, which could have been better devoted to recruitment and the well-being of existing staff.’

Social care providers have repeated concerns that mandating Covid vaccinations will worsen recruitment and retention problems, with some arguing it has already led to a staffing crisis.

This comes the same week the Government announced Covid-19 vaccinations would be mandated for all frontline health and social care staff from April next year. This is despite its own figures estimating that around 126,000 staff could be lost because of the policy.