More than 2,000 care home staff across Greater Manchester face losing their jobs in November - because they have refused to be vaccinated.
England’s care workers must have had their first Covid-19 vaccine dose by yesterday, (September 16) and be double-jabbed by November 11 to continue working in the care sector.
Unions have attacked the government policy and say that across England, thousands of vulnerable people could be put at risk by what they describe as the ‘no jab, no job’ care homes policy.
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Figures obtained from the NHS capacity tracker, which is the national system for care homes reporting to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the vaccination take up show the uptake of vaccinations for workers in care settings.
The figures as of September 16 showed that of the 24,344 staff employed in Greater Manchester care homes, 2,104, (8.6 per cent) of staff have not yet received their first dose vaccination.
Of the 3,162 care home workers in Manchester, 463, around 14 per cent, face not being able to work in the sector from November 11.
In Stockport where 2,934 care workers are employed, 331 had not yet had a first dose by this week.
In Trafford there are currently 244 affected workers out of 2,071, Oldham has 170 not vaccinated out of a total of 1,885 and in Salford the figure is 261 workers out of 1,687.
Tameside has 158 care home workers without vaccination out of a staff of 1,603 and Wigan has 166 from 2,848 workers.
The only boroughs where less than 100 staff are affected are Bury, where 86 of the borough’s 1,972 remain not vaccinated and Rochdale, where 90 workers out of 1,876 are affected.
In Bolton, of the 2,235 staff employed in care homes, 135, (six per cent) of staff have not yet received their first dose vaccination.
However, health chiefs there believe the actual figure will be lower.
They said some homes may not have reported the most recent data and that staff on maternity leave or long-term sick who are unvaccinated or who have not been able to prove their status will be shown in these figures.
Bolton council’s quality assurance team has spoken to all homes who reported staff unvaccinated, and the care homes advised that there will be approximately 70 (three per cent) staff who will refuse to be vaccinated and not be able to continue to work in care homes from November 11.
The council said that 10 of the 57 registered care homes in Bolton achieved 100 per cent of staff having received their first dose vaccination.
Coun Andy Morgan, executive cabinet member for adult services, said: “The mandatory vaccination of front-line care staff will obviously result in the loss of valuable staff form the care home workforce and could undoubtedly pose some difficulties in the short term which is regrettable.
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“However, homes affected are actively recruiting replacement staff and I would urge anyone thinking about making social care their profession to step forward and become part of what is an amazing team.”
A spokesman for Bury council said they had not had any requests for assistance despite them being likely to lose staff.
He added: “We have asked homes what contingencies they have in place to ensure the service continues to meet customers’ needs, should any non-vaccinated staff leave the service and what support they might require from us.
“Thankfully, no home has raised concerns about their ability to manage their service, and no support has been requested.”
Councillor Jude Wells, cabinet member for adult care and health in Stockport, said: “Our teams and local providers continue to work hard under the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
“We are ensuring that all staff who want the vaccine are able to access it, and are ensuring that we are prepared for any further challenges ahead.
“A large proportion of the care sector workforce have already received at least one dose of the vaccine in Stockport.”
The Unison union estimates that up to 70,000 care home workers in England may not be fully vaccinated by the deadline.
They believe mandatory vaccination should be scrapped or thousands of people may lose out on the support they need.
Unison said there are more than 112,000 vacancies in care and the government itself predicts the loss of 40,000 to 70,000 workers because of its ‘no jab, no job’ care homes policy.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Everyone that can have the vaccine, should have the vaccine.
“But the government has persisted with a heavy-handed approach despite warnings from care employers of the dire consequences.
“This move is damaging a sector already on its knees and undermining trust in the vaccine.
“If roles can’t be filled, the level and volume of care offered will be reduced.
“Vaccine-hesitant staff must be offered reassurance and persuasion, not threats and ultimatums.
“Instead of encouraging much-needed recruitment into care, the government is actively driving experienced staff away.”
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