Harrogate care boss: Vaccine mandate led to ‘significant’ staff losses


Last updated Feb 2, 2022
James Rycroft (left), managing director of Vida Healthcare.
James Rycroft (left), managing director of Vida Healthcare.

A Harrogate care home manager has criticised the government’s NHS vaccine review, which was announced this week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the policy of compulsory vaccines for NHS staff would be paused while a consultation is held on the policy.

But the pause was announced after it became a legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double vaccinated.

James Rycroft, managing director of Vida Health Care, which is based in Harrogate, said the mandate had led to a significant number of staff leaving the care sector.

He said:

“The social care sector has suffered significant losses to our workforce due to the compulsory vaccine policy at a time when we were already experiencing a national staffing crisis.”

Mr Rycroft added that the care sector has had to deal with the fallout of the policy without any support from government.

He said:

“I hope that by allowing staff back to the social care sector, even if they’re unvaccinated, we’ll be able to begin combatting the ongoing recruitment crisis, although the safety of everyone remains our main priority so we would have to ensure precautions are in place.”

Hospital to continue to encourage staff vaccination

Meanwhile, Harrogate hospital officials have said they will continue to encourage staff to get the vaccine despite the review.

Of the 5,000 staff employed by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, 98% have had at least one dose of a covid vaccine and 97% are double vaccinated.

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Angela Wilkinson, director of workforce and organisational development at the trust, said staff had been encouraged to get a vaccine through a variety of communications including weekly online videos, emails and one-to-one conversations with managers.

Ms Wilkinson said:

“Vaccines save lives and are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. 

“Since the development of a vaccine for the covid virus, we have actively encouraged our staff to get their jabs. 

“We have provided staff with a wide variety of information including how they can get their vaccinations and what the benefits are. We have also engaged with staff who have not had the vaccination to support them, allay any fears and dispel any myths.”

She added:

“We await the outcome of the consultation on ending vaccination as a condition of deployment as this will determine whether staff in patient facing roles will need to be legally required to have the vaccination if they wish to work for our trust.

“Nonetheless, we will continue to encourage all of our staff to have the covid-19 vaccination.”

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