Volunteers may be needed in understaffed English care homes | care workers

Providers have said an army of volunteers is needed this winter to address a growing staff shortage in nursing homes fueled by the looming requirement that all nursing home workers be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

As Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged care workers to reserve their vaccines in time to meet the November 11 deadline for all staff in registered care homes in England to be fully vaccinated, the independent care group said operators may have to hand over contracts. To councils or closing care homes and relocating residents due to the staff crisis, which was exacerbated by the persistent reluctance to receive vaccinations among a minority of staff. He is leading calls for retired nurses, doctors and caregivers to be trained and DBS screened to fill vacancies in the event of a dreaded “winter meltdown” in staffing numbers.

One in five workers on the Sheffield Workers’ Welfare Agency’s books rejects the vaccine, said Nicola Richards, director of Palms Row Healthcare. It also reported a “disturbing” drop in the number of workers enrolled, with many deferring to the “no cake, no job” policy. It has not been able to provide temporary staff for some clients in recent weeks.

government last month calculated That in the worst-case scenario, up to 68,000 care workers – up to 12% – could be lost as a result of a decision to make vaccination a requirement for employment in care homes. The most likely prediction is 40,000, but care managers say that even the small numbers of people who refuse the vaccine will affect services because the rota is already worn out, with more than 100,000 job openings in the sector.

A weekend survey of care home managers by the Institute for Health and Social Care Management found that 58% of operators believe they will have to lay off at least some employees by November 11 based on current vaccination rates. More than a quarter (28%) of the 681 care operators who responded said they had already lost up to five employees. 3 said they lost more than 20 each.

Sometimes job advertisements looking for alternatives do not produce any applicants for jobs that require a lot of money but pay Average only £8.50 an hour. Government calls for a cash raise to raise wages have so far gone unheeded. Operators said post-Brexit restrictions on overseas hiring have also exacerbated the problems.

said Mike Badgham, president of the Independent Care Group. “Just when we need to recruit more people, [the government] Put a block on it. It’s as if you have to fight the pandemic and the government at the same time.”

HC-One, the largest private provider, this week wrote to all unvaccinated employees urging them to get their first dose by September 16.

“It’s so terrifying to think about what we’re going through with the stresses of the upcoming winter,” said Richards, who runs two nursing homes. “Over the past four weeks, we have witnessed the employee challenges we faced last April when we were hit hard [by the first wave of the pandemic]. “

Workers were still citing beliefs about the effect of vaccines on fertility, but Richards said many are rejecting because they objected to welfare being the only part of the health system where vaccination is made a requirement of employment. The Latest available data, from June, showed that nearly a quarter of staff in London were not fully vaccinated while the figure across England was 16%.

Richards called on the government to loosen rules on overseas hiring after its speedy request to bring in workers from countries such as India was rejected. She will have to wait up to 12 weeks to see if she can fill the vacancies internationally.

On Monday, Javid said in a letter to care workers that vaccination “remains the most important tool for protecting your physical health and the health of the people you care for.” “The ‘vaccination as a condition of publication’ grace period expires on November 11 this year, so if you haven’t booked your first or second dose, please do so as soon as possible,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “It is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce risks to the most vulnerable, and after extensive public consultation, we have taken an approach that reflects the experiences and concerns of both providers and people who live and work in care homes.

“We continue to work with the care sector to encourage all adult social care staff to get vaccinated in local areas where vaccine uptake is lower so that care homes can comply with the new regulations.”

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