National & International

Thousands of care home staff fear job loss ahead of jab deadline

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One in 12 care home staff in Buckinghamshire have not received a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine, figures reveal, as the deadline for compulsory jabs looms, according to The Buckingham Advertiser

NHS England data shows 398 of the 4,668 people working in older adult care homes in Buckinghamshire were yet to receive a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on October 24 – the latest available data.

A further 746 workers who had received their first dose were still awaiting their second jab as of October 24, just over a fortnight before the deadline.

From November 11, care home staff will be required by law to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus to work.

It means nine per cent of care home staff in Bucks could face losing their jobs next week.

Charity Care England says many of the care providers it represents are concerned about a possible “exodus” of workers across the country this winter, while care workers’ union Unison is calling for the jab deadline to be postponed.

Care staff across England were told to have their first jab by September 16 to meet the November 11 cut-off.

Some 51,000 were yet to get their second dose of the vaccine.

Care England’s CEO, Prof Martin Green, said: “The adult social care sector cannot support the NHS this winter unless it is adequately resourced, staffed and recognised.

“We urge the government to listen – in Care England’s recent workforce survey, 96 per cent of members have reported that a workforce shortage is their primary concern in winter.”

Different figures from charity Skills for Care, estimate that across England 105,000 jobs were vacant on any one day in the adult social care sector in 2020-21 – a vacancy rate of around 6.8 per cent.

In Buckinghamshire, the level of vacancies was higher, at 7.9 per cent.

Gavin Edwards, Unison’s officer for care, said losing more staff during winter risks leaving people needing care with nowhere to turn.

He added: “Employers and unions in social care want to see maximum take-up of the vaccine.

“Ministers should pause the jab deadline until at least the spring, to allow even more to get their jabs. Or better still, scrap it altogether.”

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