Rachel Murray-Smith and Francesca Gallagher look at the detail of the government's guidance on compulsory vaccination for care staff.
Further to our article of 9th July 2021, Parliament has now approved the amendment to Regulation 12 (Safe Care and Treatment) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (the “Regulations”).
The House of Commons approved the Regulations by 319 votes to 246. This means that from November 2021, anyone working in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) – registered care home in England must have two vaccine doses unless they have a medical exemption.
The UK Government has granted a 16-week grace period, starting on 22nd July 2021, for care home workers to receive two doses of a Covid vaccine if they wish to continue working at a care home.
The 16th September 2021 is the last date by which care home workers must get their first dose so as to ensure that they are fully vaccinated by the time Regulations come into force. The Regulations will come into full force on 11th November 2021. It is important to note that the Regulations also require that proof of vaccination be provided.
In regard to maintenance and construction work, if the work is only being done outside the care home and individuals carrying out maintenance do not need to enter the care home, then these individuals do not need to show proof of vaccination or medical exemption.
If work is required inside the care home, then individuals carrying out maintenance will need to show proof of vaccination or medical exemption.
However, if urgent maintenance work is required in the event of a risk to life or continuity of care, workers are exempt from these requirements. This could include (but is not limited to):
- Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
- Dangerous electrical fault
- Serious damage caused by fire, flood, storm or explosion
- Burst water service
- Serious roof leak
- Gas leak
- Any fault or damage in the care home that makes the care home unsafe or insecure
- A serious fault in a lift or staircase
The Department of Health and Social Care has now published guidance on these Regulations which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccination-of-people-working-or-deployed-in-care-homes-operational-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-of-people-working-or-deployed-in-care-homes-operational-guidance
Rachel Murray-Smith is a partner and Francesca Gallagher is a paralegal at Sharpe Pritchard LLP.
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