Health Minister Sajid Javid said homeworkers unwilling to get the Covid vaccine should “get out and find another job”.
Mr Javid said he was unwilling to accept the requirement that nursing home staff be by 11.
He told BBC Radio 4 Today, “When you work in a nursing home you are working with some of the most vulnerable people in our country and if you can’t bother to get vaccinated then go out and do it get another job.
“If you want to look after them (nursing home residents), if you want to cook for them, if you want to feed them, if you want to put them to bed, then you should get vaccinated.
“If you don’t want to get vaccinated, why are you working in nursing?”
Nursing home providers and unions have warned of employee brain drain as the government must fully vaccinate them against the coronavirus by November 11.
Figures released by the NHS England last month show that 92.7% of staff in nursing homes for older adults received a first dose on September 12, while 84.8% were fully stung.
In the seven days leading up to September 12, the first dose intake rose 0.8 percentage points – the largest weekly increase in two months – suggesting the deadline had some impact.
Professor Martin Green, executive director of Care England, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that nursing homes may have to close due to the mandatory vaccination.
He said, “We all accept that we want as many people as possible to be vaccinated. But I feel like the government has pushed the compulsory welfare system without understanding the implications, without a well thought out plan for how they are going to deal with staff shortages.
“Nursing homes are in a difficult position now given that they have enough staff to maintain the safety and quality of care?
“They are in a position to either break the law or expose the employees they support to a staffing level that does not offer the required level of security.
“It is inevitable that if you don’t get the staff, there will be nursing homes nearby in some areas.”
Mike Padgham, who heads Saint Cecilia’s Care Group in Scarborough, said four of its 164 caregivers do not want to be vaccinated, one of which is medically exempt.
He is calling on the government to postpone or reconsider the mandatory vaccination deadline so that caregivers can work with improved PPE and after daily testing.
In a letter to Minister of Health Sajid Javid, he wrote: “I cannot re-use it as I have nowhere to re-use it.
“Even if I did, I would find it extremely difficult to find four caregivers to replace them in the worst staffing crisis in welfare history.
“Should I fire them or send them home and abandon four team members? If I fire them, will I go to four labor courts?
“Whatever I do, I run the risk of violating the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulations and being prevented from acting as a provider.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare said: “Temporarily, those who meet the criteria for a medical exception can become self-certified until we introduce a new system.
“This ensures that people with medical exceptions can continue to work in nursing homes.
“Our message is clear: Vaccines save lives and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the risk for people at risk in nursing homes.”
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