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Restrictions on staff movement will impact low-paid care workers

Care England says the proposed restrictions on care staff movement will create specific risks in specialised services, for example, those supporting individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism. 

The body said the regulations will also have a significant impact on low-paid staff, as the Infection Control Fund (ICF) is not enough to cover the cost of compensating both staff and other employers when a member of staff is asked to only work for one employer.

This comes after the government published a consultation on proposals to restrict the movement of care workers in England if they work in more than one health and care setting.

The regulations, if adopted, would prevent those providing nursing or personal care in care and nursing homes from working in two different care settings within a 14-day period unless this would result in unsafe staffing levels in a particular service.

The proposals were put forward after a study examining the impact of coronavirus in care homes in England indicated that one of the common factors in homes with higher levels of coronavirus infection among staff was how much they employed staff who worked across multiple sites.

However, Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, said the regulations will be ‘another bureaucratic hoop’ for care providers to jump through.

‘Although the proposed regulations are aimed at minimising the risk of infection of Covid-19, many care providers already have clear procedures and processes to manage safe staffing levels and staff movement which are regularly reviewed.

‘This is simply another bureaucratic hoop for adult social care providers to jump through.

‘The real answer to managing infection prevention and control in adult social care settings is testing. If staff were able to access a greater frequency and efficacy of test prior to a shift, there would be less need to limit staff movement.

‘We are at a loss to understand why if these measures are to be introduced across adult social care settings, the movement of NHS staff between NHS settings is not being subjected to the same regulation.

‘The difference in the treatment of the adult social care sector and the NHS seems to be disproportionate and unjustified.’

Care England is calling for clarity around the role the CQC will play in this policy as well as more information on how the regulations will converge with the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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