Sheffield care homes 'could face staff shortages from November'
Sheffield health officials fear the city could be left with a shortage of care home staff later this year, when coronavirus vaccines become mandatory for those working in the sector.
The issue was raised at the September board meeting of the Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisation which takes an overview on health services in the city, and bosses are making plans to deal with it.
Lay member Chris Nield, a former Sheffield teacher and Public Health consultant, said: “My understanding is it’s mandatory for care workers in care homes, not domiciliary ones, to be vaccinated by November. I appreciate that this isn’t our lead, but do we know what impact that might have or if it's having any impact on greater uptake of the vaccine at this point?
"The care homes are such a vulnerable place.”
She has asked to hear back on the issue at a future meeting.
CCG chairman Terry Hudsen said he was aware of concerns nationally that a number of people who worked in care homes may not wish to take up that vaccination offer and that might present a very sudden and significant change in the workforce availability in the care sector.
He said: “It’s something that we are keeping a very close eye on and I know colleagues in Sheffield City Council are working hard with individual care homes to ensure that they’re doing everything they can to encourage uptake.”
Sandie Buchan, the NHS’ Director of Commissioning Development in the city confirmed it was an issue that was being looked at.
She said: “We’ve added this to our risk register in our health and social care gold meetings that we’re having at the moment due to the current pressures.
"Alexis Chappell, director of adult social care, has flagged the risk that we’re currently facing and is putting together some numbers on the impact that it may have.
"We are looking at how we can come together as a health and social care system in order to mitigate that when it does happen. It is very much on our radar and we’re trying to do what we can so it doesn’t have as big an impact as it could do.”