Starting pistol fired on compulsory vaccinations

SAFE RETURN: Kate Brooks, Partner at Ellis Jones Solicitors.

STARTING SHOT: Kate Brooks, Partner at Ellis Jones Solicitors.

A top employment lawyer has described compulsory Covid vaccinations for care home staff as a starting shot for all healthcare providers.

Kate Brooks, partner and head of employment at regional law firm Ellis Jones Solicitors, has urged all healthcare organisations to consider that the double-jab policy may be extended and to start preparations now.

Ellis Jones is a full-service law firm with more than 150 staff and 18 partners. It has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne as well as London.

Kate, who has been recognised for her expertise in The Legal 500 and The Times Top 200 Law Firms guides, said: “Mandatory vaccination for employees in CQC registered homes is a controversial move.

“It will also apply to agency staff and those who visit to provide services, such as beauticians and trades people.

“Medical exemptions will apply although it is unclear about whether religious or philosophical beliefs will also be taken into account.”

Kate added: “We will know more once the legislation makes its way through Parliament but it is entirely possible that the policy will be extended into other healthcare settings too.

“It would be prudent to consider this a starting shot start to begin preparations now rather than face a last-minute rush later on.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also announced a consultation on extending the requirement to NHS workers and other health care staff.

Practical steps to take include:

  • Developing a vaccine policy
  • Training managers and staff
  • Ensuring equal opportunities and anti-harassment and bullying training is up to date
  • Consultation, education and support for all staff

Kate is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

There have been more than 42,000 deaths involving COVID in care homes in England during the pandemic to date, according to the Office for National Statistics.