Care bosses issue desperate plea for No10 to delay or ditch its ‘timebomb’ no jab, no jab policy with up to 60,000 unjabbed staff facing sack on THURSDAY – as sector warns homes will CLOSE because there were already 100k vacancies before Covid struck

  • Nadra Ahmed, from the National Care Association, called on Boris Johnson to halt the double-jab plans
  • Health leaders have warned it will spark a mass exodus of up to 60,000 workers  — a tenth of the workforce
  • Unions representing employees have also called for the policy to be delayed or dropped by officials 

Care bosses are calling on No10 to delay or even ditch its ‘timebomb’ no jab, no job immediately to help shore up the NHS and get them through the long winter months.

From Thursday all care home workers need to have received two doses of the Covid vaccine in order to keep their jobs. But health leaders warn up to 60,000 employees are still yet to get jabbed — about a tenth of the workforce.

Nadra Ahmed, the chair of the National Care Association, today called on Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid to slam the brakes onto the plans to avoid harming society’s most vulnerable.

She told MailOnline: ‘It is not too late for the Secretary of State and, indeed, the Prime Minister to halt this legislation in the best interests of the people we care for.

‘We are at the 11th hour, and it is a ticking timebomb. The damage will be far reaching, but even now halting this will help us to get through the winter.’ 

Ms Ahmed said the Association — which represents small and medium care providers — was hearing from councils up and down the country where the care sector is in crisis. In one area outside London she said eight homes had closed in the past five months because of staffing shortages, while in an area in the East some 350 employees have already been laid off because they were not vaccinated.

Some homes have already stopped taking NHS patients because they are so understaffed, she added, leading to beds on wards being blocked and left unavailable for emergency patients.

Unions representing workers in the sector are also calling on ministers to pause or even abandon the plans, saying it is still ‘not too late’ and that the heavy-handed approach is likely to do ‘more harm than good’.

Care worker with more than a decade of experience Louise Akester, 36, was made redundant from Alderson House in Hull today after she failed to get vaccinated. In a tearful video she said: ‘That’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do, saying goodbye to everybody, all the people I’ve care for, for so long, the people I’ve worked for.’  

More than nine in ten employees have already got two doses of the Covid vaccine, official figures show. Industry bosses have warned up to 500 homes face being closed down because of the policy, which would leave them without ‘enough staff to operate safely’. There were already more than 100,000 vacancies across the social care sector in England before ministers confirmed the no jab, no job policy.

It comes as ministers consider whether all NHS staff should be required to get two doses of the Covid vaccine, although it seems likely this will not be brought in until April. 

The above graph shows the proportion of staff working in care homes for the over-65s who have received their first and second doses of the vaccine. It reveals that there was no sharp surge in uptake when the jabs were made compulsory


Louise Akester, 36, pictured, was fired because of government requirements from November 11 that all care workers in adult care homes, who do not have medical exemptions, are double jabbed

Covid vaccines are set to be compulsory for social care workers from November 11. Pictured above is care home worker Louise Akester, 36, from Hull, who made an emotional video as she finished her final shift at Alderson House care home

NHS workers should be forced to get two doses of the Covid vaccine before winter, disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today.

Mr Hancock — who quit in June after breaching his own social distancing rules by kissing a married colleague — said the move would act as another ‘tool to save lives’ during what is projected to be a harsh winter for the health service.

He also scorned NHS staff who are still not vaccinated and don’t have a valid medical reason, warning that it was their ‘moral duty’ and that they had ‘ignored all the scientific and clinical advice’.

Ministers have for weeks been considering whether to make Covid jabs compulsory within the health service after pushing through the requirement for care home workers in the summer.

But last week the Health Secretary Sajid Javid appeared to push back the plans until April after being warned by NHS bosses that introducing the policy now could leave hospitals understaffed at a crucial period.

There are also concerns about whether the move is even necessary, given that more than nine in 10 NHS staff are already vaccinated.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hancock, who was Health Secretary for three years, warned ministers against delaying compulsory vaccinations for the sector into the new year.

He said: ‘Having looked at all the evidence, I am now convinced we must require vaccination for everyone who works not just in social care but the NHS — and get it in place as fast as possible… So as we prepare to a face a difficult winter, let’s use all the tools we have to save lives.

‘Imagine the cancer patient, already battling another deadly disease, being cared for by a nurse. Who can put their hand on their heart and say they’d be happy to tell that patient their nurse could have the vaccine, but has chosen against all scientific and clinical advice to ignore it.’ Mr Hancock said doctors and nurses had a ‘moral duty’ to get the Covid vaccine to protect their patients.

Ms Ahmed said the sector was in crisis even before the double-jab requirement was brought in — with 100,000 vacancies — but is now being left with an ‘open wound’.

She said: ‘The greatest impact of all this will be on the vulnerable people that we care for, who will have an uncertain future.

‘They may well end up in the care of the NHS if other providers are not able to support them.’ 

UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘It’s not too late for the government to delay the start of the double-jab rule in care. Or better still ditch it altogether.

‘Ministers were warned this heavy-handed approach would cause more harm than good.

‘Care homes now risk losing so many staff some will no longer be able to stay open. This would mean upheaval and distress for many elderly residents and their families.’

Ms Akester is one of thousands that is being made redundant because of the rule.

Although she has refused the vaccine, the employee has been tested three times a week for Covid, worn PPE and followed ‘all guidelines relating to infection control’.

In a video she decried the policy as ‘unfair’ because visitors and residents are not required to be double vaccinated.

Ms Akester said she had not ruled out getting the vaccine but previously claimed not enough was known about its long-term side effects.

Officials brought in the ‘no jab, no job’ policy to protect vulnerable residents and boost jab uptake.

But the plan has backfired, with health leaders warning it could leave care homes so short-staffed that the safety of their residents is compromised. 

Estimates suggest some 500 homes could close from November 11, when being double-vaccinated is made compulsory.

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, who has worked in the sector for 30 years, said: ‘The deadline for care staff to be double-vaccinated could see up to 500 homes across England having to close their doors because they don’t have enough staff to operate safely.

‘If that happens, it begs the question of where thousands of residents would go, as they can’t go to hospitals and they can’t go to their own homes without care.’

A similar legal requirement for NHS staff to be double-jabbed will only come into force from April.

Professor Martin Green, head of Care England, which represents care homes, claimed yesterday that ministers like to test out controversial policies on social care and treat the service ‘like the child they are irritated with’, while the NHS is ‘the favoured child’. 

It comes as ministers consider whether to make being double-jabbed compulsory for NHS staff, with the measure expected not to be brought in until April.

But disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock today called for the policy to be put in place before Christmas. 

Mr Hancock — who quit in June after breaching his own social distancing rules by kissing a married colleague — said the move would act as another ‘tool to save lives’ during what is projected to be a harsh winter for the health service.

He also scorned NHS staff who are still not vaccinated and don’t have a valid medical reason, warning that it was their ‘moral duty’ and that they had ‘ignored all the scientific and clinical advice’.

The above map shows the five areas where more than one in five care home employees are still yet to get two doses of the Covid vaccine

Some 100,000 NHS workers are yet to get at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, figures show. The above graph shows the percentage that have got their first dose (blue line) and the percentage that have got both doses (orange line)

The above map shows the 20 hospital trusts with the lowest proportion of staff fully jabbed in England. The data is up to September 30, the latest available

Former Health Secretary has warned ministers against delaying mandatory jabs for nurses and doctors and urged them to make jabs mandatory for NHS staff before winter

Ministers have for weeks been considering whether to make Covid jabs compulsory within the health service after pushing through the requirement for care home workers in the summer.

But last week the Mr Javid appeared to push back the plans until April after being warned by NHS bosses that introducing the policy now could leave hospitals understaffed at a crucial period.

There are also concerns about whether the move is even necessary, given that more than nine in 10 NHS staff are already vaccinated.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hancock, who was Health Secretary for three years, warned ministers against delaying compulsory vaccinations for the sector into the new year.

He said: ‘Having looked at all the evidence, I am now convinced we must require vaccination for everyone who works not just in social care but the NHS — and get it in place as fast as possible… So as we prepare to a face a difficult winter, let’s use all the tools we have to save lives.

‘Imagine the cancer patient, already battling another deadly disease, being cared for by a nurse. Who can put their hand on their heart and say they’d be happy to tell that patient their nurse could have the vaccine, but has chosen against all scientific and clinical advice to ignore it.’ Mr Hancock said doctors and nurses had a ‘moral duty’ to get the Covid vaccine to protect their patients.

A SAGE adviser said today it was a ‘general standard of hygiene’ for anyone in a frontline role in contact with vulnerable patients to be double-vaccinated against Covid. But they stopped short of calling for jabs to be made compulsory, saying this should only be done as a ‘last resort’. 

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