Covid vaccines: decision to make jabs mandatory for care home staff has put ‘even more pressure’ on workers

The Government’s decision to make Covid jabs mandatory for care home staff in England has put “even more pressure” on workers in the sector, a care home manager said.

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A law was implemented earlier this month that required care workers to be fully vaccinated to continue in their jobs.

Nicola Richards, managing director of Palms Row Health Care - which manages Northfield and Westbourne care homes - told NationalWorld she had only seen post-ban vacancies rise by 2% in the homes she manages.

Ms Richards said this is due to their staff already having high vaccination rates.

However, she is worried about the wider picture the mandatory vaccine decision will have.

Ms Richards said: "We support the vaccination programme and would encourage everyone to get their jabs. However, the Government’s decision and actions puts even more pressure on existing staff and will make the skills crisis in care even worse.

“The Government’s recruitment campaign goes nowhere near taking enough steps to address the problems we see in morale among care workers”.

She added that the morale crisis in social care is “well documented” and that “the recent vaccination scandal is just another example of the workforce in the sector being treated differently to the NHS”.

Ms Richards said that because the sector is “so fragmented”, individual employers “do not have the resources or the scale to help boost the morale of the sector”.

She said: "We need to see a long term package of measures to reward, respect and support our frontline care staff.”

This is why she has launched a new organisation called Support Social Care Heroes, which has been created in order to improve the wellbeing and support available to staff in the care sector.

What is Support Social Care Heroes?

Support Social Care Heroes (SSCH) has been launched to support social care workers and recognise their dedication and personal sacrifices.

SSCH, which is in the process of achieving charitable status, aims to “preserve, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of those providing social care”.

It is hoped that SSCH will receive significant support following research which found that the overwhelming majority of the public feel that social care staff are undervalued (81%) and underpaid (80%).

Ms Richards added: “We’re facing a precipice in social care and Support for Social Care Heroes is building a bridge to a future in which those who need care, and those caring for them, are valued by society.

"The care sector loses its best people every week. Our organisation aims to end this revolving door for employees by bringing greater meaning to their role and supporting employers to make meaningful, long-term changes to their circumstances.

“Our country’s social care heroes have been on the front line and in the headlines for over 18 months and, though there is more public recognition for the amazing work they do, they are overworked, underpaid and lacking support.

“While the sector continues to fight for fair wages and conditions for carers, Support Social Care Heroes aims to fill a gap by improving the wellbeing of these vital workers and show them that they are valued. It’s time to care for our social care heroes.”

The organisation plans to support care workers and enable them to have a better work/life balance, improve resilience, and retain talent within the sector to help stabilise the current staffing crisis.

The work of the organisation will focus on taking “successful person centred, holistic and fun wellbeing pilot programmes and scaling them up to deliver for care heroes across the country”.

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