The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will build its regulation of the new compulsory vaccine mandate into its existing monitoring approach to ensure healthcare staff visiting care homes are double jabbed, it has said.
The new policy – which will now come into force on 11 November – will require that any professional entering a care home in England have two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, with the CQC responsible for overseeing the measure.
Last week, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that this may grant employers ‘fair reason for dismissal’ if staff fail to meet this criteria and are not exempt.
In response to the new regulation, the CQC outlined that its Provider Information Return (PIR) form will now ask: ‘How are you assured that those you employ and deploy within your service have had their mandatory vaccinations?’
A similar question will be added to its monitoring approach from November, it added. The CQC’s monitoring approach was last updated in June, where it set out its plan to begin ‘sampling’ services to ensure inspections are consistent.
The regulator also clarified that managers will not be expected to show inspectors a record of evidence to prove staff have been vaccinated.
Instead, they will ‘need to be able to provide reassurance that systems and processes are in place’ to ensure those who enter the premises are fully vaccinated.
It said providers must introduce ‘robust’ systems to:
- Monitor staff’s Covid and vaccination status.
- Monitor the same status of staff entering the care home.
It added that for new manager applications, it will check the applicant is vaccinated or exempt and that they are aware of the new regulation.
The news comes after a recent impact assessment (19 July), it estimated that as many as 40,000 (7%) of the 570,000 working in CQC-registered care homes may be unvaccinated at the end of a 16-week grace period.
The last date for care home workers to get their first dose to be fully vaccinated ahead of the change will be 16 September.
The DHSC has also confirmed it will launch a further consultation to extend the regulation to other healthcare staff.
The policy has been previously criticised as the ‘wrong approach and a massive distraction’.