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Stopping Movement of Staff Between Care Settings

by Lisa Carr

Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has submitted its response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s [DHSC] consultation on restricting staff movement.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:  

“Although the proposed regulation is aimed at minimising the risk of infection of Covid-19, many care providers already have clear procedures and processes to manage safe staffing levels and staff movement which are regularly reviewed. This is simply another bureaucratic hoop for adult social care providers to jump through. The real answer to managing infection prevention and control in adult social care settings is testing. If staff were able to access a greater frequency and efficacy of test prior to a shift, there would be less need to limit staff movement”.

The consultation, found at GOV.UK, was launched to seek the views of the adult social care sector in relation to the introduction of regulations that create a requirement on residential and nursing care home providers in England to restrict the movement of staff providing personal care or nursing care in their services.

Care England’s response details why this proposed policy will struggle to work in practice across all residential or nursing care settings, focusing on the following areas:

  • The implementation of the regulation is likely to create specific risks in specialised services, for example those supporting individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism.
  • There will be a significant impact on low-paid staff.
  • There will likely be a consequence on staff mental health and levels of fatigue.
  • A greater degree of clarity is required around what role CQC will play in this policy. A consistent and proportionate approach is necessary.
  • It is worrying that these regulations will converge with the UK’s departure from the European Union. The failure of the Immigration Act to appropriately support the adult social care sector will adversely affect the sector.
  • The Infection Control Fund [ICF] is simply not enough to cover compensating both staff and other employers when a member of staff is asked only to work for one employer.

Martin Green continues:

“We are at a loss to understand why if these measures are to be introduced across adult social care settings, the movement of NHS staff between NHS settings is not being subjected to the same regulation.  The difference in the treatment of the adult social care sector and the NHS seems to be disproportionate and unjustified.”

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