Bedford care home staff must have COVID vaccine if they want to remain employed

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Care home workers in Bedford must have the COVID Vaccination if they want to remain employed unless they are clinically exempt.

Kate Walker, Bedford Borough Council’s director of adults’ services, told the Adult Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee this week (7 September) that this is a condition set out by the Government.

But, it’s not yet known what impact this may cause on staffing levels in Bedford Borough.

“The potential impact of the local market is being monitored at this time as we are still within the grace period,” she said.

She added that 16 September is the date where unvaccinated care home staff should have their first jab if they wish to remain in employment in a care home.

“This allows time for the second vaccine to have been carried out before the regulations come in on 11 November”, she said.

The Committee was told that this has been a high priority for the Care Team to monitor.

Kate Walker said: “Our care team has been in touch with 74 of our care providers who weren’t showing at 100% of their staff being fully vaccinated.

“Since July, more staff have come forward for the vaccine, but not in large numbers. We do know that some are planning to get their first jab before 16 September.”

The meeting was told that some care homes have been looking at recruitment in anticipation of vacancies by the deadline.

Kate Walker added: “All of the private providers have amended or are in the process of reviewing all of their job descriptions and their policies to reflect the changes.”

Councillor Tim Caswell (Liberal Democrats, Goldington Ward) asked: “Do we know what the outcome will be for people who are vaccine resistant in November; are they likely to be dismissed or redeployed?”

Kate Walker responded: “We will be looking at the HR process and looking at any alternative employment options available for people.

“We do not want to lose anybody, but it is a fact that the government has made the rule that you can’t work in a care home if you are not vaccinated unless you are clinically exempt.

“People will be offered any opportunity that there are under the Recruitment, Retention and Redeployment policy.”

by John Guinn Local Democracy Reporter
and Bedford Independent’s Paul Hutchinson

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