HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
As the vaccine roll-out began, care providers approached us about whether they could make them mandatory for new staff. The Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) team spoke at events, provided legal advice and produced a toolkit for employers.
When the UK Government announced in July that everyone working in care homes would need to be vaccinated by November, we were already experts in the area and ready to help providers navigate the new regulations.
Many employees in the sector were against vaccinations. However, because of the length of time they had worked for their employers, a high number were entitled to 12 weeks’ notice. So, although the Government had set out a 16-week grace period, employers were left with a very limited window of time to implement the regulations.
With 14% of roles in the sector vacant, care homes were increasingly worried about their staffing. There were also a whole host of complexities around who would be clinically exempt. The Government promised to release guidance around this, but it never happened.
Following the announcement, we supported providers to understand and implement the new regulations. This included our pro-bono work with umbrella bodies National Care Forum and Care England. We spoke at events, reaching a huge number of providers in the sector.
When the new regulations came into force, we produced another toolkit that explained all the detail, included template letters and set out how they could create a vaccination policy.
In late November, the Government announced they would be extending the mandatory vaccination policy to cover all CQC regulated settings, which includes home care and supported living. This could have impacted over 100,000 unvaccinated care workers.
We continued to provide guidance and produced another toolkit to prepare providers for the new regulations coming into force in April, as well as giving urgent advice about what to do when the Government made a U-turn and announced plans to withdraw the regulations.
“At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we have a deep understanding of this sector. We can talk about developments as they happen and give unique insight on a timely basis. We helped the National Care Forum by speaking regularly at their forums and understanding people’s views so they could respond to Government consultation on both sets of regulations.”
Matthew Wort, partner, Anthony Collins Solicitors