Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Care home staff return following Covid jab rule, report says

Fewer than 50 staff had left employment or temporarily stopped working as they waited to receive their second dose, Barnet care homes reported.

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The roll-out of mandatory Covid jabs led some care home staff in Barnet to leave their roles – but many are now back at work.

After the government made it compulsory for staff to be double jabbed from 11th November, care homes in the borough reported that fewer than 50 staff had left employment or temporarily stopped working as they waited to receive their second dose.

Most of the staff who temporarily stopped working have now returned, which was described as a “significant achievement” in a report presented to the adults and safeguarding committee on Tuesday.

When mandatory vaccination regulations were published by the government in August, Barnet care homes were reporting that 750 staff were not fully vaccinated.

Despite these reassurances, Lisa Rutter, Conservative councillor for Brunswick Park, raised concerns over staffing levels in one of the borough’s care homes, where she said nearly all the staff were off work after contracting Covid.

She told the meeting: “There are two managers, and they are working night and day trying to sort this.”

In response, Dawn Wakeling, executive director of adults and health, said people could still test positive for the virus despite being fully vaccinated. She added that the borough was experiencing “increased levels of Covid-positive status”, but this was linked to high transmission rates in the community – particularly of the Omicron variant – rather than vaccination status or infection control measures.

Between 1st January 2020 and 27th June 2021, there were 145 deaths in Barnet care homes linked to Covid-19, according to data published separately by the council. The figure represents 15.2% of all the deaths in Barnet attributed to the virus during this period.

The number of care home deaths related to the virus dropped significantly following the roll-out of the vaccine.

According to the council report, care homes updated their plans before the regulations came in to ensure service continuity would not be affected. To support this, the council set up a borough-wide recruitment campaign for the care sector and funded a £200 recruitment incentive payment for new entrants.

Efforts are now underway to ensure the wider social care sector is double jabbed ahead of a government deadline of 1st April.