ARC England Statement on DHSC Consultation about Mandatory Staff Covid Vaccination

Clive Parry, ARC England Director

19th April 2021

ARC England has been in discussion with our members in anticipation of the Department for Health and Social Care’s consultation about mandatory staff vaccination in adult social care settings in which older people are supported.

Our members are providers of support services to adults of working age with learning disabilities, autism or both; this part of the sector is not currently included in the consultation. The DHSC’s current position in relation to broadening the scope of the legislative change is summarised as:

There are many other settings across adult social care and health, where people most at risk from COVID-19 are being cared for in high risk, closed settings. We will keep this policy under review on a continuing basis and consider whether in due course it is necessary to extend the policy to other parts of the adult social care and health sectors.’
Full details on the consultation.

The stubbornly high mortality rates for people with learning disabilities are well documented, as are the very much poorer Covid-19 outcomes for this group.

We recognise that the arguments for mandatory staff vaccination in settings where supported people have known vulnerabilities in relation to the Covid-19 virus (including care homes for older people and services where people with profound, multiple and learning disabilities are supported) may be somewhat different from services in which relatively young learning disabled adults are supported in their own homes.

Our members have told us that their preference at this time is to strongly encourage recalcitrant members of their staff to be vaccinated (where there is no health-related or religious reason not to) and to use factual, accurate information to question and challenge when workers’ concerns might be based on misinformation.

Mandatory vaccination is a contentious issue and we recognise that views will differ and may be strongly-held. Some of ARC’s members will agree with mandatory staff vaccination in their services and some may disagree, for reasons that could include staff attraction, recruitment and retention difficulties that are the consequences of the workforce terms and conditions issues being driven by financial pressures in the sector.

We will continue to support ARC England members to encourage their staff to take up vaccinations by promoting the use of fact-based resources and communication toolkits.

Clive Parry, ARC England Director

19th April 2021

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