Bedford to lose 160 care home staff as mandatory vaccines kick in

They will miss November 11 deadline

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:32 pm

Care homes in Bedford are set to lose over seven per cent of its staff in a few weeks’ time after workers missed a deadline to get their first Covid jab before mandatory jabs kick in.

NHS England data analysed by NationalWorld suggests 159 care home workers in the town would not be fully vaccinated before the deadline.

After November 11, staff will be excluded from working in care homes if they are not fully vaccinated. To meet this deadline, the last chance for workers to get their first dose was September 16, given the time needed between a first and second jab.

Care homes in Bedford are set to lose over 7 per cent of its staff

The adult social care sector, including but not limited to care homes, already has a vacancy rate of 12.7 per cent in Bedford – according to the latest estimates from charity Skills for Care, covering 2019-20.

Currently, there are 2,225 adult social care staff in Bedford, and although 2,066 workers have had their first jab, only 1,887 are fully vaccinated.

Any staff employed directly by councils in younger adult care homes are missing from the figures – but the vast majority of care staff in England work for independent providers.

Care England, which represents providers, warned earlier this month that the sector was “at breaking point” over recruitment and retention – even before the loss of unvaccinated workers.

Rachel Harrison, national officer of the GMB union, which represents some care staff, said bosses were now having to think about how to keep residents safe.

She said: "Forced vaccination of our embattled care workers is an insensitive and cruel way to address vaccine hesitancy."

The double-vaccine rule also applies to visitors to care homes, with unvaccinated people set to be banned from entering from November 11.