More than 40 care home staff in Newcastle left their jobs ahead of Covid vaccines being made mandatory.

As of November 11, all staff working at care homes were required to be fully vaccinated – a rule which sparked dire predictions of 32,000 unjabbed workers across England facing the sack.

City council officials in Newcastle have now confirmed that an estimated 42 workers here left their post ahead of the deadline last month.

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While that number is much lower than had been feared and represents less than one per cent of the care home workforce in the city, bosses said it “nonetheless has a significant impact on the affected individuals and those providers in the city who are already struggling with recruitment and retention”.

After the November 11 rule came into force last month, it was reported that Newcastle still had 137 care home staff who had received only one dose of a vaccine up to that point and 126 who had not had one at all.

The council said that many of those have now either become fully vaccinated since or have been off work for reasons such as maternity leave, which is why the number to have left actually their jobs is only 42.

It was estimated nationally that roughly seven per cent of England’s care home workforce could have lost their jobs due to the new requirement.

A report ahead of a Newcastle City Council audit committee meeting this week states: “In Newcastle it is estimated that c.42 people left their role in the lead up to the 11 November deadline. This represents c.0.9% of the care home workforce in the city and c.0.4% of the overall adult social care workforce in the city.

“While a <1% reduction in the workforce is a relatively small number compared to national estimates, it nonetheless has a significant impact on the affected individuals and those providers in the city who are already struggling with recruitment and retention.”

From next April, all frontline health and social care staff will be required to be fully vaccinated.

The city council said that 90% of home care workers in Newcastle have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccination, while 84.3% have had two doses.

NHS staff giving Covid-19 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination
NHS staff giving Covid-19 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination

A council spokesperson added: “We are really pleased with the high uptake of the vaccine among our care home workers as this not only protects them but also those they are caring for.

“Those not fully vaccinated by the deadline were either away from work, for example on maternity leave, and were able to be vaccinated while not at work.

“Where they were at work, they had second appointments booked and managers were using their rotas flexibly to ensure they remained away from the workplace until vaccinated.

“We believe our unvaccinated figures were lower than the national average because we put in place a systematic approach and because of this we have not felt any specific impact.

“We continued to communicate really well with providers in the run up to the deadline, encouraged them to ensure their teams took up vaccination and, as a system, we offered really flexible vaccination opportunities.

“We also maintained our Collaborative Newcastle approach so our wrap around and nursing teams were promoting a consistent message.”

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