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Care home Covid vaccine mandate will be ditched in a fortnight, Government reveals

Covid vaccine mandate that forced care homes to sack 40,000 unjabbed workers will finally be ditched in a fortnight — but will they want to come back?

  • 90 per cent say they supported the move to ditch the ‘no jab, no job’ policy 
  • The Department of Health says the change will be brought in on March 15 
  • 40,000 care home workers have already lost their job because of the rule

No10’s highly-controversial ‘no jab, no job’ rule in care homes is being revoked in a fortnight, the Government revealed today.   

Nearly 40,000 unvaccinated staff lost their jobs in England in November when the policy came into effect. 

Ministers announced their intention to remove the mandate last month pending a consultation.

The consultation’s results, published today, showed that 90 per cent of respondents supported revoking the policy, which was originally due to be brought into the NHS too.

Officials said the rule will be dropped in care homes on March 15, but care bosses slammed the Government for being ‘too late’.  

Tory MPs have called on the Government to bring those who lost their jobs in the care sector back into the fold to help deal with a current staffing crisis in the sector.

The consultation’s results, published today, showed that 90 per cent of respondents supported revoking the policy, which was originally also due to be brought into the NHS too (stock of a nurse preparing a dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine) 

The Department of Health and Social Care said the decision was made because of the Omicron variant, which is ‘intrinsically less severe’ and is much better at infecting vaccinated people. 

A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘We fully recognise the calls for clarity and for quick revocation of the regulations. 

‘The regulations will come into force on March 15 in order to provide certainty for employers, their staff, patients and people who receive care or support.’

The consultation surveyed 90,000 health and social care professionals and  members of the public from February 9 to 16.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said they ‘strongly’ agree the policy should be revoked, with a further 3 per cent also preferring the rule is abandoned.

Some 96 per cent of members of the public said they supported the move to get rid of the policy. 

But 7 per cent said they strongly opposed the move, with 2 per cent also not wanting to see the change brought in.

Some 30 per cent of NHS and care home managers said they opposed the rule being revoked. 

But DHSC said the overall responses ‘showed clearly the strength of feeling about the policy, both through the large number of total responses received and the clear preferences indicated’. 

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, told MailOnline: ‘The decision to remove vaccination as a condition of employment for residential care staff comes too late for the over 30,000 people who left our services because they did not want to be vaccinated. 

‘The Government talks endlessly about integrating health and social care, and yet they put this mandate into social care, but not into the NHS. 

‘In future, anything they do needs to be implemented system-wide because fragmented decision-making has unintended consequences.’ 

Hospital medics should be allowed to WFH as 999 handlers one day a week to stop them leaving, MPs are told 

Hospital doctors should be permitted to work from home as a 999 call handler one day a week to persuade them not to leave, MPs were told today. 

Nicola McQueen, chief executive of NHS Professionals — which provides temporary staff to the health service — said plans were urgently needed to protect the ‘burnt-out workforce’.

Speaking to the Health and Social Care Committee, she suggested letting staff ‘do one day from home’.

They could direct 111 and 999 calls from anywhere, Ms McQueen said. 

The NHS was already short of 100,000 nurses, doctors and other medics before the pandemic struck. 

Unions say repeated Covid waves have demoralised staff, and that the threat of firing unvaccinated medics — a move No10 has since backtracked on — would have only exacerbated the workforce crisis. 

It comes as NHS England today unveiled plans to hire tens of thousands of reservists to help tackle the backlog for routine operations. 

Currently, 6.1million people in England are stuck on NHS waiting lists, with the figure expected to double by March 2024.

Critics say it is essential to hire more staff to have any hope of tackling the backlog. 

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