The Government has decided not to progress with amending regulations to require care home providers to stop staff movement at this time.
However, The Department of Health and Social (DHSC) said that restricting the movement of staff between care settings remains essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in care homes.
The Government has published updated guidance on restricting staff movement between care homes and other care settings. This guidance makes clear that routine staff movement should not be taking place. In those limited exceptional circumstances where staff movement is necessary to ensure the delivery of safe care, the guidance provides examples of how to mitigate the risks of this with frequent testing.
A total of 1,312 responses to the online consultation were received through the GOV.UK consultation page with additional written responses. Over half of responses were from adult social care or health care service providers. This included 44% of respondents replying as providers of care home services, 10% from other care services, and 3% from health care providers.
The majority of respondents (56%) believed that the proposed requirement had the potential to reduce staff movement, although around half of the respondents who expressed this (29% of all respondents) felt that changes to the proposals would be needed.
Examples of concerns about the proposal included:
- Confusion about the scope of the regulations and which staff and/or locations it would cover.
- The impact it could have on staffing levels and the impact on the provision of care to residents.
- The cost of implementing the proposed regulation.
The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) is happy that the DHSC has today decided against implementing legislation restricting workforce movement between care settings. The CWC said that although guidance in this area is still in place, the proposed policy would have been detrimental to the social care workforce- exacerbating existing staffing and retention issues, as well as being discriminatory against care home workers. The CWC is therefore glad that this decision has been made.
Visit The Department of Health and Social Care Website for more information.
As we await the confirmed decision on mandatory vaccinations for care staff, Liz Jones, Policy Director at The National Care Forum asks whether compulsory vaccination for care staff is pragmatic policy making or a policy sledgehammer?