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Thursday, Dec 08, 2022

Covid vaccine mandate has ‘human cost’ on care sector

Covid vaccine mandate has ‘human cost’ on care sector

The National Care Forum has set out the “human cost” of England's new Covid vaccine mandate, which came into effect on Thursday, forcing 8% of staff to leave their job despite the industry already being under severe pressure.
The chief executive of the National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, warned the government that the social care sector will suffer a significant “human cost” due to the introduction of the Covid vaccine mandate, as unvaccinated staff leave their posts.

“It’s really challenging for organisations all across the country and I think there’s a very human cost,” Rayner told the BBC, noting that 8% of staff are having to quit due to the vaccine mandate despite overwhelming pressure on the sector.

With existing demand for staff putting pressure on the social care sector, Rayner warned that losing workers who are unvaccinated will mean that “people who need care who aren’t currently in receipt of it” will be “unable to get it.”

Previously, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said care home staff would need to either get the Covid vaccine or seek alternative employment, refusing to postpone plans to force these workers to be inoculated against coronavirus.

Care home staff have been vocal in their opposition to the vaccine mandate, with employees at two facilities seeking a judicial review of the requirement, believing it is “unlawful and unnecessary.” However, the health secretary pressed ahead, stating the measure is necessary to fully protect patients against the virus, and the mandate came into effect on Thursday.

Concern from the social care sector over the mandate follows a government announcement that the inoculation requirement will be rolled out to NHS England in the next few months.

The UK government has been undeterred by warnings from social care and NHS staff that they cannot cope with the current workload, as the health service faces the dual threat of Covid cases and the winter flu. A recent survey of 450 leaders in the NHS showed that 90% believe the pressure facing the health service is “unsustainable.”

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