Dr Ann-Marie Towers, Reader in Social Care at the University’s Centre for Health Services Studies, comments on the news that Covid-19 vaccinations are set to become compulsory for staff in care homes for older people in England. She said:
‘It’s a shame that we have got to the point where Covid-19 vaccines have to be compulsory for care staff, and I think most people would agree it is not ideal. However, the safety of older care home users is paramount.
‘While there are human rights issues raised for frontline care workers, this has to be balanced with the rights of residents to be safe in their own homes and receive high quality care and support. Staff who are clinically exempt will not be at risk of losing their jobs. Ultimately staff have some choice about where they work and whether they are willing to have the vaccine.
‘Residents have no choice about relying on 24/7 care and support to meet their fundamental health and social care needs. With the country unlocking over summer, there is clearly a risk that staff will exit the sector and choose to work in other similarly paid roles, such as hospitality. This will be a risk in itself to the safe, high quality delivery of social care and only time will tell as to the impact this has on the sector.’
Dr Towers is currently conducting collaborative research to understand the experiences of frontline workers in adult social care during the Covid-19 pandemic. Direct care staff can give their views on the impact of Covid-19 on their own wellbeing and plans to remain in the sector by completing this online survey.
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