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The culprits? A melting pot of mandatory vaccinations and Brexit immigration rules

Our social care workers in this country have been deservedly praised for all the sacrifices they have made in the fight against covid-19. From clapping them on a Thursday night, to recognition from the queen herself, it was clear that the general public are finally beginning to comprehend the importance of the work they do. But what the public might not comprehend is the staffing crisis some care homes are being faced with.


As of 11th November, care home staff in England who are not fully covid-19 vaccinated will not be able to work in homes.


At a time when Skills for Care figures already show a 3% drop in the number of positions filled, but an increase of 9% in the number of vacancies open, it’s no wonder that care home managers are concerned. It’s feared the national policy, implemented by the government this month, will have dire implications for the sector – with a predicted 38,000 workers forced to leave the profession. In fact, the National Care Forum survey has revealed 3.5% of workers had left already as a result of the mandatory vaccination policy and a further 4.4% might yet leave.



But it’s not just mandatory vaccination that is causing waves across staff recruitment and retention. Brexit continues to impact on the sector’s ability to staff their homes. Before Brexit, 8% of the social care workforce came from other EU countries. Some of those workers may have remained but leaving the EU has exacerbated the staff shortage. Under the new Brexit points-based immigration system, many social care workers do not meet the requirement for a ‘skilled worker’ and therefore are unable to be recruited.


Care England, the representative body for care providers, have raised their concerns.


“There are 167,000 vacancies in social care across England, and a 30% staff turnover. Without adequate staffing, the number of beds in residential homes will be forced to decrease.” CEO of Care England, Professor Martin Green


A stark reminder of the impact of the government’s policies.


Last week care providers lobbied the health secretary, Sajid Javid, urging him to allow workers to continue in their job unjabbed until April. Mr Javid insisted the measure was “all about patient safety - doing whatever we can to protect what are some of the most vulnerable people in our society”. Patient safety is at the forefront, but how safe will our patients be when safe staffing levels can no longer be maintained?

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