On 22nd July 2021, The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 statutory instrument was laid before Parliament.
The instrument brings in the requirement for care home workers (and other people who may visit care homes in a work capacity) in England, to have been fully vaccinated against “Coronavirus” – or the SARS-CoV-2 virus with one of the emergency approved Covid-19 vaccines by 11th November 2021 (16 weeks after the instrument was issued) – or to be able to prove there are clinical reasons why they cannot be vaccinated.
The regulations appear to have been rushed through before MPs started their summer break. An impact assessment for the regulations was still being prepared so was not available for MPs to consider before voting.
Conservative MP William Wragg spoke out against the rushing through of the regulations, along with Labour’s Rachael Maskell, with the latter saying: “We’re having to make a decision in the House this evening on the balance of risk, and we haven’t been given the data because the impact assessment hasn’t come forward.” Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans also said it was a “totally unsatisfactory” situation.
The Regulations seek to fundamentally change the human rights of care home workers. It crosses a line that has not been crossed before in this country, and we must all be deeply concerned that it is a first step towards mandatory vaccination for the whole population.
The Regulations are likely to cause a severe shortage of staff in an industry that has historically found it hard to recruit well trained and dedicated individuals. Many current staff may simply now be preparing to leave a job they love, rather than be bullied.
The impact of staff shortages will of course be felt only by those in care, who are either the oldest or the most vulnerable in our society. This is a travesty given the failings of this government throughout the last 18 months, to the care home population.
Every person has body autonomy and freedom of choice when it comes to medical procedures. These rights must be respected and upheld and are enshrined in numerous pieces of domestic and international law, as well as in common law, by judgements handed down by the UK’s highest court, The Supreme Court. These rights cannot simply be swept aside by the stroke of a junior minister’s pen.
We anticipate the new regulations being challenged in court in the near future. In the meantime, our focus is on urgently empowering individual care home workers (and others affected by the regulations) so that they do not feel forced into having a vaccination, forced to hand in their resignation, or face redeployment, dismissal or other disciplinary action as a result of exercising their fundamental human rights. That people find themselves in this position is not acceptable, is unlawful, and we should all stand together to prevent such state overreach.
For this reason we have started a campaign today to reach anyone affected by the Regulations. If that is you, please visit our dedicated page HERE, and download, personalise and send the Care Home Worker letter provided – including the PDF that explains your legal rights and the law in more detail for both you and your employer.
Do not forget the PDF. Keep this as a handy reference to the legislation and case law that your employer will be breaching if they try to coerce you into having a Covid-19 vaccine.
And finally, please share this post with anyone affected so it reaches them. Together we can make a stand and make a difference.
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