Vaccinations to become mandatory for front line health and care workers
The government has published its response to the consultation on 'Making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector'.
As anticipated, the mandatory vaccination requirement is being extended to all providers of CQC-related activities, so that only individuals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to be deployed to roles where they interact with patients and service users.
Under the new Regulations which are currently in draft form workers who have direct, face-to-face contact with service users will be required to provide evidence that they have been vaccinated, subject to limited exemptions. This will include front-line workers, as well as non-clinical workers not directly involved in patient care but who nevertheless may have direct, face-to-face contact with patients, such as receptionists, ward clerks, porters and cleaners.
The regulations will apply to workers in health and social care settings, including hospitals, GP practices, and where care is delivered in a person's home. The requirements will apply to CQC-regulated activities whether they are publicly or privately funded. They will also apply where a regulated activity is delivered through agency workers, volunteers or trainees, or contracted to another provider.
Those engaged in CQC-regulated activities will have a bit more time to prepare for the introduction of the new mandatory requirement than CQC-registered care homes had as the Regulations won't come into force until 1 April next year to allow time for implementing the necessary measures. The consultation had considered the issue of whether the flu jab should also be mandated, but the government has decided not to go down this route at present. It will keep this under review ahead of next winter.
For further information on the new mandatory vaccination requirement please see our bulletin: 'Extending the mandatory vaccination requirement: what we've learnt so far'.