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It’s About Time

by Lisa Carr

Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, is pleased that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has listened to the sector and launched the wider consultation on making the Covid-19 and flu vaccination a condition of deployment for frontline workers in health and wider care settings.
 
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
 
“We are pleased that the Department has finally launched this consultation. This was something promised ‘within the coming weeks’ when the Government response to the consultation on residential adult social care services was published in July. The delay in the publication of today’s consultation has heavily impacted recruitment and retention within the adult social care sector, with residential care staff transferring over to home care or the NHS. Earlier this week Care England wrote to Minister of State for Social Care to emphasise our serious and growing concern in relation to the absence of this consultation and we are pleased that our concerns have been listened to.”
 
A six-week consultation has been launched on GOV.UK today, looking at whether requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers: those in contact with patients and people receiving care. It would mean only those who have completed a full course of a Covid-19 vaccine, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services. The consultation will also seek views on whether flu vaccines should be a requirement for health and care workers. This consultation follows the five-week consultation launched on 14 April for residential adult social care settings, which has subsequently been enacted and comes into force on 11 November.
 
Martin Green continues:
 
“The consultation represents a small step towards creating a level playing field between the NHS and social care. We hope this will help alleviate some of the workforce pressures rife within the sector induced as a result of residential care settings having been singled out initially. However, despite the launch of the consultation, there still remain unanswered questions, such as where Covid-19 boosters fit into the picture, as well as an absence of central guidance around exemptions.”

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