The Government announced on 9 November 2021 that health and social care providers in England will be required to ensure all staff who have face to face contact with people in receipt of CQC regulated care are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Yesterday, the House of Lords gave a green light for ministers to bring the new regulations into force. Once the new regulations become law, health and social care providers will have to mandate vaccination for any staff aged 18 or over who have direct face to face contact with the people you support unless there are clinical exemptions.

The new regulations will be enacted and become law in early January 2022 at the latest and will come into force on 1 April 2022. Providers, therefore, need to work to an implementation date of 1 April.

Unfortunately, this leaves very little time and means that many preparatory steps will need to be taken before the new legislation is made in early January to enable providers to formally address matters before any notices of termination have to be served on those that refuse to be vaccinated and are not exempt. Ideally, notices of termination need to be served before 7 January for those on three months’ notice. The process that providers will need to implement breaks into five broad stages:

  1. (notifying all affected employees of the new requirements and setting a deadline for the evidence to be provided; 
  2. checking the evidence received; 
  3. meeting with those who don’t provide the evidence or who tell you they will not be providing it to explore their concerns; 
  4. giving notice to those employees who have not provided the evidence offering a right of appeal; and
  5. considering any appeals.

In addition to reviewing working arrangements with those that you already employ; providers will also need to review your approach to recruitment. My view is that requiring the Covid-19 vaccination can, going forward, be a condition attached to any offer of employment for someone expected to have direct face to face contact with the people you support. You will therefore need to review recruitment processes and wording of any job adverts, person specification and contractual documentation to ensure that this is appropriately noted so that the requirement to be vaccinated, and to receive any future boosters, can be effectively enforced in the future if required.

To assist providers with the implementation strategy we have prepared a Toolkit that includes:

  • Summary advice regarding the current legal position
  • Recruitment advice and suggested wording for all stages of recruitment (including offer letters and contracts of employment)
  • A vaccination policy
  • Employee communications and potential dismissal documents (including invitations to meetings and notice of dismissal letters)

If you would like to discuss the support we can offer to help you with your implementation strategy, or purchase a copy of the toolkit, please do get in touch with our team by emailing Regena Hodgson: Regena.Hodgson@anthonycollins.com.