Revitalise, a national charity providing respite care in a holiday setting for disabled people and carers for almost 60 years, has said that England’s vaccine mandate, which requires all care staff to be fully vaccinated by 11 November, is having “devastating consequences” for a troubled sector.
The company, whose patron is businesswoman and former Prime Minster’s wife Samantha Cameron, runs three specialist holiday centres in England which cater for 4,600 disabled people and carers each year.
Now, the charity, described as a “lifeline” for users, faces losing nearly a third (29 per cent) of its staff in one centre alone due to the mandatory vaccine policy.
Chief executive Janine Tregelles has called on the government to “ease, not exacerbate” the staffing crisis and “to consider a range of different measures”.
She said: “For Revitalise and for the care sector, the mandatory vaccination policy will, if implemented, have devastating consequences.”
Tregelles said that five key, longstanding colleagues had opted out of the vaccine programme “because they believe in their right to bodily integrity, which is enshrined in the Human Rights Act”.
She added that a further seven employees, who received the vaccine, are threatening to resign if their colleagues are made redundant.
Such a loss would result in one holiday centre having to close, putting the rest of the charity at risk.
The charity boss challenged the logic of the policy that only applies to care home staff, but not residents, visitors or frontline NHS workers.
“The welfare of our guests is our foremost priority and concern so there is a great irony that this new law, ostensibly designed to protect them, will only end up doing them harm,” she said.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Over 90 per cent of care home staff have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine ahead of the 11 November deadline and we encourage even more staff to get vaccinated to protect their colleagues and those they care for.
“Temporarily, those who meet the criteria for a medical exemption will be able to self-certify until we introduce a new system. This will ensure those with medical exemptions can continue working in care homes.”