A Plymouth care manager shared her desperation as job applications have dwindled in recent months – and she fears more staff will leave if vaccinations are made mandatory for nursing home staff.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, said she feels the home care sector has been ‘forgotten’, meaning recruitment has plunged to the point that she received no applications for some jobs.
It comes as a consultation has been conducted on the use of staff vaccination in England to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19 and ministers are expected to announce the decision on compulsory vaccination for healthcare workers in the coming days.
Read more: Ivybridge man dies saving child from Erme
The care manager said she believes this will only create new recruitment problems in the sector and that care managers should meet with government officials about it.
“I have been in care for a long time, I have always recruited and it has never been as bad as it is today,” she said.
âRecruitment is lackluster right now. Providers are struggling to keep the clients they have in dom care as staff leave to work at Tesco.
âYou still have those who want their benefits, so tick the ‘Yes I applied, yes I applied’ box but now you don’t even get them.
“Indeed [the recruitment website] I used to have six or seven requests a day, now I’m lucky if I get two a week. “
The official said she had asked other people in the area and the issue was in the whole area.
She said: “They don’t pass, nobody gets anything.
“Dom care in general, we are not considered a very good career development, we are unskilled workers, you can enter [domiciliary] take care and do it.
“All you do is wipe your butt and make cups of tea.”
But the manager fears that if recruiting is weak at the moment, it will only get worse.
“My fear: some people are very skeptical about vaccination, they don’t want it,” she said.
âYou will find that some caregivers don’t have it and you can’t do them.
âNow they are forced to have it in nursing homes, or could be, the decision comes this week. If they don’t want the vaccine, they will leave.
“So who will replace them?”
The woman said that there were healthcare workers who at first did not want to be tested because “they did not want to know if they had the Covid or not, because they were afraid”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is known to be in favor of the binding decision, while England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said doctors and caregivers have “professional responsibility” to protect their patients.
A consultation should also begin on whether other healthcare and care workers should also receive the jabs.
Dr Susan Hopkins, director of strategic response for Covid-19 at Public Health England, said there are “pros and cons to any debate about mandatory vaccination”, with a possible downside being that “people can vote with their feet, and do not want to have the vaccine, and therefore does not work in a nursing home, and this could lead to staff supply problems in nursing homes â.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said: âVaccines are our way out of this pandemic and have already saved thousands of lives – with millions of health and care workers vaccinated.
“Our priority is to make sure people in care homes are protected and we have launched the consultation on whether and how the government could push forward a new requirement for adult care home providers dealing with seniors, to deploy only personnel who have had a Covid-19 vaccination or have an appropriate exemption. “
What the board says
Councilor Patrick Nicholson, deputy head of the board and member of the cabinet responsible for adult health and social care, said: âUnfortunately, there is a shortage of home care staff nationwide and Plymouth is facing to the same challenges as any other local authority.
âThe coronavirus pandemic has put increased pressure on all of our health and social care services, so in an attempt to address the recruitment shortage, we have partnered with the councils of Devon and Torbay to launch the Proud to Do campaign. .
âSince its launch in April 2020, nearly 300 people have been offered jobs through Proud to Care’s candidate placement service, while thousands more have applied directly for the hundreds of jobs posted on the Proud to Care jobs site. However, despite the numbers recruited, we still face a gap in the dom care market in Plymouth.
âHelping people live independently in their homes is one of our key priorities and over the coming months we will be launching a dedicated home care recruitment campaign with a focus on the benefits of working in the sector. health and social services. There is currently a huge range of temporary, permanent and flexible roles available in dom care in Plymouth, so I invite anyone interested to visit the Proud to Care website and register their contact details. www.proudtocaredevon.org.uk
âWe understand how difficult the past 12 months have been and we continue to actively support this market through the timely allocation of national funding for infection control and locally we have provided investment again. additional this year. National PPE delivery modalities have also provided additional support to health care agencies and staff
âAs I settle into my new role as Cabinet member, I would love to meet with the city’s home care agencies and will make arrangements over the next few weeks to host a suitable forum.
âI’m also ready to look into any immediate issues if anyone wishes to contact me at City Council. “
More stories from Plymouth:
Channings Wood prison officers fight to save Plymouth young man’s life
16,000 Navy veteran awaiting NHS dental treatment in Plymouth