Northampton care homes 'working with staff to get vaccinated' amid reported plan to make jab mandatory

Northamptonshire has one of the lowest vaccine uptakes among care home staff outside of London

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 8:35 am

Two Northampton care home operators have said they are working with staff to get vaccinated against coronavirus amid reports of it soon becoming compulsory in England.

The government is planning on making it mandatory for frontline care staff to get the jab within 16 weeks or be redeployed or fired, according to numerous media outlets.

Northamptonshire has one of the lowest uptakes of the vaccine among care home staff outside of London

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Care home staff may soon be forced to get the coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Getty Images
Care home staff may soon be forced to get the coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Rowark, managing director at Halcyon Care Homes, which runs Timken Grange, said they have tried to make staff as informed as possible as it has so far been up to them.

"We understand that it is likely that the Government will make the vaccination compulsory; whilst this has potential to put pressure on the industry from the perspective of retaining team members, we will continue to provide our people with personalised information in the coming weeks to reduce the risk of this to our organisation," he said.

"We must recognise that we value each and every team member, however, we have a primary responsibility to protect and care for those that live in our homes; we will work in line with the Government guidelines for this to continue."

The government wants to address the low levels of uptake for the Covid vaccine among care home staff but organisations fear it may force people to leave the already-understaffed profession.

In Northamptonshire, 76.3 per cent of staff of older adult care homes have had their first dose of the jab and 58.2 per cent have had their second dose -

Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from getting the vaccine will not be affected, according to BBC News.

The move comes after a consultation by the Department of Health and Social Care in April, which found 47 per cent of English care homes for older people had more than a fifth of staff yet to take up the vaccine.

That is despite staff at all eligible homes having been offered vaccines and the vast majority having had repeat visits by clinicians.

Barchester Healthcare, which runs Brampton View Care Home, said the change would be significant for the care sector 'as we must protect the most vulnerable sector of society'.

"We have already taken the decision that staff working in a Barchester care home or hospital must be vaccinated and we have carried out extensive engagement programmes with staff, as well as one-to-one support to encourage this," a spokesperson said.

"As a result we are seeing strong uptake and positive engagement with Covid-19 vaccination. We are delighted that that 99 per cent of staff are willing to have the vaccine.

"Those staff with acceptable exemptions, and exempted staff will operate with enhanced PPE.

“We did not introduce our vaccine policy lightly, but took the view that providing safe care for those we look after is our paramount obligation.

"As the chief medical officer has said, it is a professional duty for care home staff to accept the vaccine unless there is a medical reason they should not.

“Our staff take the duty of care for our vulnerable residents very seriously and understand the importance of this."