Selston care boss 'saddened' to lose half a dozen staff after vaccines made mandatory

A Selston care home boss said she is ‘saddened’ to have lost more than half a dozen staff after the government introduced its mandatory Covid vaccine policy.
Anita Astle, owner of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston.Anita Astle, owner of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston.
Anita Astle, owner of Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston.

Data suggests hundreds fewer people are working in Nottinghamshire's care homes now than before mandatory Covid vaccines were announced for the sector.

Rules set by the Government last year stated care workers in England needed to have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by September 16 to continue working, and two doses by November 11.

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The move was in response to the high number of deaths in the care sector during the pandemic, but was widely criticised, among fears of an ‘exodus’ of care staff.

NHS England data shows 8,553 people were working in older adult care homes across Nottinghamshire on January 2 – the most recent date for which figures are available.

This was 257 fewer than the 8,810 recorded on July 18 – days before a 16-week ‘grace period’ for care workers to get their first jab started.

Wren Hall Nursing Home, of Nottingham Road, Selston, was among those to lose staff.

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Home owner Anita Astle said she was ‘saddened’ to see her colleagues leave after they worked hard caring for residents with Covid throughout the pandemic.

She said: “Sadly, since March 2021 when the mandating of vaccination was first muted and November 11, when the mandating of vaccination in social care came into force, Wren Hall did lose seven staff.

“This saddens me as even though I support the vaccination initiative, most of these staff had worked through wave one of the pandemic caring for those who were Covid-positive.”

Across England, the number of staff in older adult care homes dropped by 17,000 over the same period.

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It is unclear how many workers left as a result of the mandatory vaccine policy.

Care providers across the country are currently experiencing high vacancy rates and turnover, and pressure on staffing is also being exacerbated by the spread of the Omicron variant.

Sam Monaghan, chief executive of charitable care provider MHA, said: “Essential care and support for older people is now facing a staffing crisis the likes of which we have never seen before."