More working in care homes despite jab rule fears

More people are working in South Tyneside’s care homes than when coronavirus jabs were made mandatory for staff, new figures show.

Care home staff numbers rise.
Care home staff numbers rise.

NHS England data shows 1,213 people were working in older adult care homes in the area on January 2 – 17 more than on July 18.

The figures contrasts with the national picture, where around 17,000 workers have left their jobs since mid-July, when it was announced that Covid-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for care staff.

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Rules set by the Government last year stated care workers needed to have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by September 16 to continue working, and two doses by November 11.

The move was widely criticised, raising fears of an "exodus" of care staff.

The Government is relaxing immigration rules to ease staff recruitment and retention in the care sector.

The data shows 1,185 workers at older adult care homes in South Tyneside had received two Covid jabs by January 2 – 98% of staff employed on that date.

Across England, 95% of older adult care home workers have received two doses of a Covid jab.

Nationally, care providers are experiencing high vacancy rates and turnover.

Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, said it was "imperative" that all organisations will be able to use the new immigration scheme "at speed".

The Department for Health and Social Care said new starters can be deployed to work care homes 21 days after receiving one dose of the vaccine and are required to get a second jab within 10 weeks.