Sheffield care homes face ‘bleak winter’ as one in 10 staff must leave over Covid jabs

Sheffield’s care homes face a bleak winter say bosses, after losing staff this week who declined the Covid 19 jab.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:20 pm

In total, 90 per cent of care home staff have been vaccinated, as have 79 per of domestic care staff – leaving 10 per cent who cannot continue working at homes in the city under new rules which have made vaccines compulsory for care home workers.

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Sheffield’s director of public health, Greg Fell, told the governors meeting of the Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group: “It’s difficult to know what we could do that we aren’t doing to get that coverage higher but it’s worth bearing in mind that coverage certainly of staff vaccination, is of a number we could only dream of when comparing this to usual coverage for seasonal ‘flu vaccination. We continue trying to get coverage a little bit higher than it is but 90 per cent coverage in staff is pretty good.

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Greg Fell , Director for Public Health Sheffield, says 90 per cent of care home staff have received Covid vaccinations

“It is now obviously mandatory and that will cause us some workforce pressures as people may choose to leave the profession. That will be a problem. We continue to support the sector and the sector has done an amazing job in getting coverage as high as it is.”

Sheffield care homes boss, Nicola Richards, told The Star there had been tears at her care homes this week as staff were forced to leave their jobs.

She said Mr Fell was right that there had been a good uptake, but making the jab compulsory for care home workers was now impacting on homes.

Mrs Richards is managing director of Palms Row Healthcare, which operates three city nursing homes, and chairs Sheffield Care Association. She also runs the healthcare and recruitment training agency Heritage Oaks Healthcare.

Nicola Richards, chair Sheffield Care Association, said two of her staff had to leave this week

She said she had lost two staff this week who refused jabs, but was aware of homes in the city losing more.

She said: “It is two too many. Many homes have shortages already and we’re all suffering problems in recruitment and retention.

“It is a really bleak picture, and it’s not even winter yet. We’re all seeing shortages of staff and recruitment issues. There is no appetite to come into the sector.

“This is a skilled workforce that should be paid more and that needs to be addressed.

Sheffield’s care homes face a bleak winter, after losing staff this week who declined the Covid 19 jab, say bosses

“Fundamentally, it is no staff, no care, and that will have a direct impact on all health services, and cause bed blocking. It could mean we cannot take new residents.

“I did exit interviews with staff yesterday. It was a horrendous day. One was with a worker who did not miss a single rota day through the pandemic. She worked through the pandemic when care homes had limited PPE, there was no testing and no vaccines.

“Yet we have residents who could go to hospital, and be cared for by people who have not had the vaccine.”

She estimates her agency has seen new applications fall 40 per cent

Health secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons: “I have concluded that all those working in the NHS and social care will have to be vaccinated. We must avoid preventable harm, and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself.”

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor