As many as 10 per cent of care home staff have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 in some boroughs of Greater Manchester – but health bosses say the system will hold up if they lose their jobs.
Care home workers in England must have had their first dose by September 16 and must be double-jabbed by November 11 to continue working in the sector.
On average, 93.46pc pc of care workers across Greater Manchester have received their first dose as of October 7, when the latest data was published by the NHS.
But there are still three boroughs hovering around the 90 per cent mark – Salford, Stockport and Manchester – meaning around 650 members of staff will not have had a vaccine and could be slashed from the workforce.
The lowest rate of vaccination among care home staff is in the Manchester borough, where 89.8pc have had their first dose.
In total, the number of staff that could be removed from care homes across the region rises to more than 1,300, when taking into account those who have not had the vaccine across all 10 boroughs.
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There has been widespread national worry that care homes are already facing the most acute staffing shortage on record as employees leave the profession for a host of reasons, including pay and working conditions, as told by the National Care Association last month.
There have also been reports that care homes have stopped taking patients from hospitals in some areas of the UK because of depleted workforces.
In a month, staff numbers will likely take another hit as unvaccinated carers could lose their jobs.
However, Greater Manchester health lead Sir Richard Leese says the system is expected to ‘cope’.
In a press conference this week, Sir Richard, alongside Mayor Andy Burnham, said the percentage of care home residents in the region with confirmed Covid-19 or showing symptoms is low at 0.6 per cent, according to the latest data from this week.
“We now have a very high proportion of care home residents who are double jabbed, we’ll have most of them having been offered a booster jab over the coming weeks,” said Sir Richard.
“We’re also now getting, in some of the districts, over 90 per cent of staff have had at least their first jab. So care home staff are going through the vaccination process quite successfully.”
Vaccination is ‘really having an impact’ with mortality rates ‘negligible’, he added.
However, Sir Richard says that Greater Manchester ‘is passing a threshold where the care home system will be able to cope’ if the number of unvaccinated care home staff members remains the same.
“I think we probably appear to be passing a threshold where we do think the care home sector will be able to cope because of the number of people who are now getting vaccinated,” he told the Manchester Evening News .
“Clearly, staffing in care homes is always a cause for concern but we will keep very close to it.
“Social services still maintain very regular contact with all of their care homes. The communities cell in Greater Manchester still has very regular weekly reports of what is going on in the sector.
“Also, care homes identifying when they have got problems – all of that will continue, and will undoubtedly continue right through the window.
“But at the moment, I do believe the position is likely to be sustainable.”
“Care homes are in a very stable position here,” he added.
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