More than 4,000 care home staff in Derbyshire risk losing their jobs after missing vaccine deadline

Credit: PA

Thousands of care home staff in Derbyshire are at risk of losing their jobs if they don't get their second covid vaccine by next month.  

NHS data suggests more than 4,000 care workers in the county have already missed the deadline for the first jab. 

From November 11, all care home workers and anyone entering a care home must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, unless they are exempt, in a bid to protect vulnerable residents from the virus.

This includes staff, agency workers, volunteers, tradespeople and local authority employees but does not include relatives or friends of residents.

By the time that mandatory deadline arrives, care home staff will have been eligible for Covid vaccines for nearly a year, having been a top priority at the start of the roll-out last December.

A total of 4,173 staff affiliated with care homes around Derbyshire missed the September 16 deadline by which they needed to have received their first Covid-19 jab in order to be fully jabbed by November 11.

Meanwhile, a third of care home staff are still to have their second jab - 9,262 in total or 31.7 per cent, as of September 26, the most recent data.

Regarding staff potentially being fired or redeployed as a result of not getting fully vaccinated, the Government guidance says: "If you are unable to provide proof of vaccination or exemption, then your manager should explore all options available to you.

"This could include moving you to an alternative role for which vaccination is not required.

"You should speak to your manager about your options as soon as you can. You should not assume that it will be possible for you to be redeployed. 

"You should note that the regulations may provide a fair reason for dismissal if you are not vaccinated or medically exempt."

It says care homes should have plans in place for safe staffing throughout shortfalls due to illness or vacancies and that local authorities may be able to offer or direct homes to further assistance. If homes are unable to provide safe staffing levels they must notify the health watchdog the Care and Quality Commission (CQC).

The guidance also says unvaccinated staff "may begin working in another role and no longer work with you".

It says: "As medical exemptions apply, not all staff members will have received a vaccine as some may have a health-related reason not to. If you are worried about this, you can speak to a staff member or the manager of your care home."

It says staff could be offered paid or unpaid leave if they demonstrate that they intend to get fully vaccinated but did not meet the November 11 deadline.

The guidance says: "This cannot be a long-term solution, because the regulations do not have a time limit."

It says: "Some care homes - having exhausted alternative options - may have to consider dismissing employees or terminating contracts of workers.

"This should only apply to those over 18 who are not vaccinated and have not obtained a medical exemption.

"Where this is the case, care homes must comply, at all times, with employment and equalities law and adhere to good employment practice."

It says staff would not be eligible for redundancy payouts.

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