No jab, no job: More care homes push staff to take Covid-19 vaccine
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Staff at Suffolk and Essex care homes are being pushed to take the Covid-19 vaccine with some companies taking a no jab, no job stance.
Healthcare company Care UK, which has nine care homes in Suffolk, has stated that new recruits need to be vaccinated along with other care home companies operating in the county.
This means any new staff at Care UK's two Ipswich homes, Asterbury Place and Prince George House, Bury St Edmunds homes, Davers Court and Glastonbury Court, will need to agree to take the Covid jab at the recruitment stage.
This will also apply at its other Suffolk and north Essex locations, Cedrus House, Davers Court, Cleves Place, Hartismere Place, Mills Meadow, Britten Court, Silversprings, Tall Trees, Colne View and Haven Lodge.
A Care UK spokesperson said it will not be a requirement for existing employees, who they claim have been willing to come in on their day off to take the vaccine.
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Alysia Caring, which operates Hadleigh-based Magdalen House, has also taken a similar stance.
The care home company told this newspaper that "all" new recruits have to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
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A spokesperson for Alysia Caring said: "If they can’t get it through their GP, we will assist them to get it when they start with us.
"We are actively encouraging all our staff to get the vaccine unless they have medical reasons not to."
Barchester Healthcare - which owns Alice Grange Care Home in Kesgrave, Oulton Park Care Centre, near Lowestoft, and Woodland View Care Home, in Colchester - has the strongest policy.
It is requiring all staff to have had the vaccine by April 23 unless they are medically exempt.
While runners of Catchpole Court in Sudbury, Kingfisher House in Newmarket, and North Court in Bury St Edmunds, Four Seasons Health Care Group, have not and will not make the vaccine a requirement for new or existing staff.
A Four Seasons Health Care Group spokesperson said: "We fully support the government’s vaccination programme and strongly encourage all team members to take part if they wish, and the vast majority have already done so."
But lawyers have warned companies to tread extremely carefully when it comes to hiring policies in relation to vaccinations.
Law firm Birketts' senior associate in the employment team Sam Greenhalgh said: "Such a requirement could have an indirect effect on individuals that have a protected characteristic."
But pointed out in the care sector mandatory vaccines could be "reasonable".