How First Response Training is responding to the latest vaccination requirements

National workplace training provider, First Response Training (FRT), has taken decisive steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its staff, clients, learners and they people they support.

The leading training provider, which works with hundreds of local and national health and social care providers on a regular basis, has confirmed that all of its trainers are double vaccinated.

FRT have verified that all of their trainers have received two doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine and have stated that it is their policy, for the foreseeable future, not to recruit or deploy any trainers that remain unvaccinated.

In addition to this, all trainers carry out Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) on a twice-weekly basis and the results are recorded centrally. Trainers can only deliver courses if they have evidence of a negative test result.

Providing Covid-19 secure training

The training provider continued to provide a wide range of workplace training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, adopting stringent safety procedures to control the risk of transmission. Their Covid-19 Secure Pledge encompassed a number of measures in line with government guidelines, recommendations and changing lockdown rules. This included the development and regular updating of a Covid-19 risk assessment addressing their training activities and additional secure measures for practical training.

FRT also supported many of their clients to move their staff training programmes across to the virtual learning environment, delivering over 2,000 live, remote webinars as well as providing bespoke e-learning courses throughout the pandemic.

The company was also able to access priority vaccination for their trainers due to their role in delivering essential training to frontline workers within settings which housed or supported vulnerable people.

Vaccination requirements for care home workers

Current government guidelines state that all care home workers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by 11th November 2021 in order to continue to carry out work within a residential care setting, although certain exemptions do apply. Many care services have also confirmed that they will not be allowing anyone who has not been vaccinated to enter their setting.

As a major provider of training to the adult social care sector, with Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider status, FRT takes its position on this matter very seriously.

Amy Ridge, Managing Director at FRT, explained: “We deliver training for some of the providers and frontline workers who were hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. They require certain assurances from us, and we are committed to protecting their safety and to enabling them to continue to provide safe, high-quality care through the provision of essential training.

“We must therefore confirm, after careful consideration, that we have made the decision to only utilise trainers who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Our entire training team is double vaccinated, and we will not be using any trainers who remain unvaccinated.

“We understand that taking up the offer of vaccination is a personal choice, and can be a sensitive issue, but we have to take steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of our staff, our clients, our learners and the people they support – many of whom are among the most vulnerable members of society.”

You can view and download First Response Training’s poster regarding their policy on vaccination for trainers here.

Skills for Care offers guidance on vaccination for care workers

Skills for Care is providing resources to help employers in the care sector to engage with their workers and provide guidance about wellbeing and Covid-19 vaccinations.

It comes as the government announced that they are planning to bring forward regulations that will make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of employment for those working in CQC-regulated care homes

The national workforce development charity says they understand that this policy will present a variety of challenges for care providers.

Variations in vaccine take-up

Data shows that there have been regional variations in vaccine take up across the care sector and Skills for Care acknowledges that there are many different views and opinions held by individuals working across social care organisations.

It is understood that the new regulations will apply to all individuals working in care homes in England that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and which provide nursing or personal care. Certain medical exemptions will still apply.

The government are still planning to launch a further public consultation on whether or not to make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in healthcare and the wider social care sector.

If they come into force, the regulations will mean that care home providers can only deploy staff who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccination.

If the proposed regulations are approved by Parliament, there will be a minimum of a 16-week grace period before they come into force to provide care workers who have not yet been vaccinated with the opportunity to take up the vaccine.

Guidance for the care sector

During this challenging time, Skills for Care has grouped together vaccination guidance and advice from a number of sources to help aid employers in the care sector.

Care workers have taken risks during the pandemicTheir locality teams are also available to offer workplace support for local authorities and employers.

It is important to remember that the regulations will remain under review to ensure that they continue to reflect the latest clinical guidance.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of Care, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Understanding Mental Health and many others.

They also offer a portfolio of e-learning training courses, including COVID-19 Infection prevention, identification and control.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“This is a difficult issue for both care workers and employers. On the one hand, it is vitally important that vulnerable care home residents are kept safe and that they can be provided with high quality, compassionate and person centred care from the right people at the right time, without being placed at risk.

“On the other hand, vaccination is a personal choice and there are many reasons why someone may choose not to take up the vaccine or may be hesitant. The best that any organisation and any worker can do is to ensure they are properly informed, from credible, reliable sources, about the virus and vaccinations and that they are up to date with all key guidance and advice.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

Call to care campaign launches

The public are being urged to consider and apply for both short and long-term work opportunities in the adult social care sector as well as volunteer roles.

The Department of Health and Social Care have launched the next phase in their national recruitment campaign for the sector, which features television, digital and radio advertising aimed at increasing awareness of long-term career opportunities within adult social care.

In addition, the government is also urging people to register their interest in completing short-term paid work to support the sector during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘Care for Others. Make a Difference’ campaign is part of the long-term recruitment drive and seeks to highlight the rewarding, varied and flexible roles available across the adult social care sector.

It aims to build a sustainable workforce for now and the future.

CQC publish annual state of care reportEmployers in adult social care can upload details of their vacancies to the DWP ‘Find a job’ platform. They can also access a number of resources, such as expert advice and templates, to run their own local recruitment activity and maximise the awareness generated by the national campaign.

The campaign website features a badging device, enabling employers to co-brand their own materials and link up with the national recruitment drive.

A campaign newsletter is available to keep people up-to-date.

Meanwhile, the ‘Call to Care’ campaign is targeting jobseekers, volunteers and furloughed workers to register their interest online for short-term paid work opportunities in adult social care.

The campaign has been launched in order to support care homes and home care services to meet additional staffing requirements during the remaining winter months.

It comes as absence rates have more than doubled across the workforce in recent months due to self-isolation requirements as the new Covid-19 variant makes its presence felt across the country.

Care workers have taken risks during the pandemicLocal authorities and local adult social care service providers will receive details of registrants so that they can contact candidates directly.

Exact roles available will be based on experience, local need and at the discretion of the local authority and local care providers.

Candidates will receive required training, such as in Infection Prevention and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), be supported with DBS checks and will receive Covid-19 vaccinations in line with key worker status and the priority vaccine scheme.

The Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said:

“Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen thousands of wonderful people step forward to volunteer for the NHS and take part in our truly tremendous national vaccination effort. Today, I’m asking people to step forward to help in social care too.

“We need more people who want to play their part in this pandemic to choose social care. There are thousands of opportunities, from short-term roles to long-term careers.

“Jobs in the care sector are hard work, but they can also be incredibly rewarding. When you get home from work you know you’ve made a real difference for the people you care for. I know we can’t thank you to care workers too many times for what they do.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also commented:

“I am urging the public – whether you are a jobseeker, or looking for a new career – to consider working in care.

“We need short-term support while we face the pandemic and to continue to recruit the right people with the right values, now and into the future.

“Great progress has been made on offering vaccines to all older care home residents and care home staff and this recruitment drive will help us continue to fight this terrible virus.”

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Infection Prevention and Control, Health and Safety, Dignity in Care, Duty of Care, Safeguarding Adults and many more.

There's been an increase in domiciliary care jobsA trainer from FRT says: “The adult social care workforce is full of dedicated, compassionate workers who are committed to supporting others to lead fulfilling, dignified lives.

“They deserve so much recognition for the hard work they’ve put in over the past 12 months – and the risks they’ve taken on – and it’s vital that they are supported as they continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic and the impact this has on staff numbers.

“Anyone new to social care must complete the Care Certificate standards and should receive further training in key topics to ensure they can provide high-quality care which is safe and person-centred.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

Funding boost to support social care sector

The adult social care sector is set to receive a £269 million funding boost to help protect and support staff and those receiving care.

There's been an increase in domiciliary care jobsThe funds will be split, with a new £120 million fund to enable local authorities to boost workforce capacity and a £149 million grant system to support lateral flow device testing in the sector.

Announced in December 2020, this grant is designed to increase rapid Covid-19 testing of care staff and facilitate safe care home visits from loved ones, where possible.

It comes as the new, more transmissible coronavirus variant has led to a sharp rise in staff absence rates, as care home and home care staff test positive or are forced to self-isolate due to contact with a confirmed case.

Known as the Workforce Capacity Fund, the £120 million fund for local authorities is being made available to:

  • Provide additional care staff where shortages arise
  • Provide support for administrative tasks so that experienced and skilled care staff can focus on providing care and support for residents and those receiving care in their own home
  • Help existing staff to increase their hours, if they wish, through the provision of overtime payments or by covering childcare costs

Infection prevention and control guidance on staff movement in care homes is also being reinforced, with providers reminded that it is vital that they continue to follow the rules in order to keep staff and residents safe.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the fund would “bolster staffing numbers in a controlled and safe way, whilst ensuring people continue to receive the highest quality of care.”

He spoke of the hope offered by the vaccination programme, and explained:

“Many local authorities across the country already have staffing initiatives in place to increase capacity and address staffing issues. These include care worker staff banks where new recruits are paid during training, re-deployment models where DBS checked staff are trained and moved into operational roles, and end-to-end training and recruitment services.

“The £120 million fund will ensure such initiatives can continue, and help other local authorities implement similar schemes.”

Care workers have taken risks during the pandemicMr. Hancock added that the £149 million grant would support care providers with the costs associated with “setting up safe testing areas, providing staff training and will contribute towards staff time spent administering and receiving tests.”

Local authorities must pass on 80% of this funding to care homes on a per beds basis, with 20% able to be used at their discretion to support the sector in delivering additional lateral flow device testing.

Minister for Care Helen Whately praised care workers for “doing the most amazing job throughout the pandemic,” adding: “In challenging circumstances, they have been caring for some of the people most at risk from this virus with compassion and skill.”

She explained:

“Increased staff testing remains a critical part of reducing transmission. Care homes currently have access to 3 tests per week for their staff, with daily testing for 7 days in the event of a positive case to protect staff and residents.

“Care homes will have additional lateral flow devices to test individuals working in more than one setting before the start of every shift.

“Restricting staff movement remains critical to minimising the risk of transmission. In response to the government’s consultation, the sector called for an increase in staffing capacity instead of regulation to achieve this goal.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said they were “pleased” the government had listened to the care sector’s “deep concerns about banning staff movement.”

He added:

“We want to work with the department to ensure the staff capacity fund delivers to the front line and is suitably flexible to reflect the crisis whereby providers are struggling with staff illness and absenteeism in the same way as their colleagues in the NHS are.

“Staff are our most precious resource and we want to do all that we can to support them, especially in these incredibly difficult times.”

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Infection Prevention and Control, Health and Safety, Dignity in Care, Duty of Care, Safeguarding Adults and many more.

Care homeA trainer from FRT says: “We work closely with many local and national care providers and know that they have been having such an incredibly tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

“Those who work in care work incredibly hard to provide person-centred, dignified and compassionate care, even in extremely challenging circumstances.

“It is fantastic news that the sector will receive extra funds to help support and protect these dedicated workers and the people they work to support.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

Care home fined £100K for failure to provide safe care

A care provider has been fined £100,000 for their “serious failure” to provide safe care in what the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has described as a “very distressing case.”

Sunrise Operations Esher Limited, which operates the Sunrise of Esher care home in Esher, Surrey, appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court where they were ordered to pay prosecutions costs of £25,575.87 and a £170 victim surcharge in addition to the significant fine after admitting failure to provide safe care and treatment.

The prosecution was brought against the provider by the CQC after an incident in which an extremely vulnerable 92-year-old woman was assaulted by another resident of the service while she was nursed in bed.

The court heard that, on 12th June 2016, the CQC were notified that Mrs. Eileen Traynor had been assaulted while in bed by an elderly male living with dementia who was also cared for at the service.

He attacked her with his zimmer frame, resulting in her sustaining injuries that required her to be hospitalised. Her underlying frailties had meant she was unable to defend herself or call for assistance.

The gentleman who assaulted Mrs. Traynor was removed from the service while she was being treated in hospital. She returned to the Sunrise of Esher care home later in June 2016.

She sadly died on 22nd November 2016, though not as a result of the injuries she sustained in the incident.

Sunrise Operations Esher Limited pleaded guilty to two charges. Firstly, for failing to provide safe care and treatment, which resulted in avoidable harm to Mrs Traynor while she was being cared for at the Sunrise of Esher care home. Secondly, they admitted to failing to provide safe care and treatment by exposing other people living in the service to a significant risk of avoidable harm.

Commenting on the case, the CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, Debbie Ivanova, said: “This is a very distressing case and clearly Mrs Traynor did not get the safe care she was entitled to. I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to all of those affected by Mrs Traynor’s death.

“Mrs Traynor and her family had every right to expect good, quality care and we welcome that the provider has accepted full responsibility in this case.

“It was the serious failure of the home to protect people from avoidable harm that led to CQC’s prosecution of the provider. In their role as provider, Sunrise of Esher Operations Limited had a specific legal duty to ensure care and treatment was provided in a safe way. We found they had failed to do this by not ensuring risks had been fully assessed and measures were not in place to prevent harm to Mrs Traynor. I agree with the judge’s view that ‘this was a terrible event waiting to happen.’

“We appreciate how distressing this has been for Mrs Traynor’s family and we hope this case prompts other care home operators to review the care they provide to ensure people’s safety.

“Where we find any care provider has put people in its care at serious risk of harm, we will take action to ensure that people are safe and hold providers to account.”

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Health and Safety, Personal Care, Safeguarding Adults, Dementia Awareness, Duty of Care, Dignity in Care and many more.

A trainer from FRT says: “Everyone has the right to feel safe from harm, and those who are vulnerable must be protected and receive the high quality, compassionate and safe care and treatment that they deserve.

“It’s important that all care providers ensure they meet safety standards and protect the people they support, providing appropriate training for their frontline staff.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

New scheme launched for care home visits

A new scheme to enable people to safely visit their loved ones in care homes is to be trialled in England.

Care home residents may be able to receive visitors soonThe pilot scheme will allow a family member or friend to regularly visit a care home resident providing they follow the same rules laid out for staff regarding weekly testing and wearing PPE.

The trial follows repeated calls from dementia charities and mental health campaigners for selected individuals to be allowed more frequent access to visit care home residents.

They have argued that regular contact is vital for patients’ wellbeing.

Social Care Minister Helen Whately confirmed that the trial would enable people to visit their loved ones in care homes while minimising the risk to other residents and staff members by treating them as key workers.

She told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee: “I am planning to launch a pilot shortly. I can’t give you a date but I can say we are moving forward with it.

“Visiting is incredibly important for residents and their families in care homes. I really want us to enable visiting but it has to be safe.”

Visits on lockdown

It comes as many parts of England have been placed under tighter restrictions, meaning that face-to-face care home visits have once again been prohibited entirely in those regions, just as they were nationwide during the original peak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.

Care home residents are at higher risk from coronavirusCurrent national guidance in England states that visits can take place on a “limited basis” where alternative arrangements are not possible.

Care providers are left to develop their own policies and should follow the advice of local public health officials and conduct dynamic risk assessments to determine the impact of visits on both residents and staff.

Ms. Whately cautioned that the safety of all residents and staff within a care home must remain paramount and said: “You have to recognise if a visitor takes Covid in, they are not just endangering the individual they are visiting, but it is very hard to control Covid within a residential setting.”

Time ‘of the essence’ for residents

While the idea of a new scheme for care home visits has been warmly welcomed by the Alzheimer’s Society, the charity’s chief executive Kate Lee was keen to know more.

“We need the when and the where, plus plans for national rollout. Time is of the essence,” she said.

Care home residents need contact with familyShe explained that the total ban on face-to-face visits back in the Spring had “cruel and tragic consequences” for care home residents, with many people with dementia left feeling, “bewildered, abandoned and, in many tragic cases, faded away from the lack of personalised care, understanding and love that only family members can bring.”

She said allowing family members to visit safely through regular testing and appropriate PPE “will give people with dementia better care and, quite simply, enjoyment of life that’s an essential right, while keeping them safe during the winter.”

Official figures from the ONS show that nearly 20,000 care home residents died after contracting Covid-19 between early March and the middle of June, though some experts believe the real figure is far higher.

In Scotland, the government have recently relaxed the rules on care home visits; extending the permitted length of an indoor visit from 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Supporting health and wellbeing

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering a wide and diverse range of courses to organisations in health and social care, early years, childcare and schools and businesses in all other industry sectors.

They deliver high-quality, interactive courses in topics such as health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, health and social care, mental health, and more.

Their health and social care range includes training to meet the Care Certificate standards for new workers, and courses in topics such as Dementia Awareness, Infection Control, Safeguarding Adults, Person Centred Care, Dignity in Care and End of Life Care.

There's been an increase in domiciliary care jobsA trainer from FRT says: “It is obviously a very tricky balance right now, because we must protect the most vulnerable members of society from this virus. No one wants a repeat of the tragedy that occurred within care homes earlier this year. But, equally, individuals living in care homes need the contact of their loved ones. They need to see familiar faces and feel their love and support. It’s so important for their emotional and mental health and wellbeing.

“We hope that a positive plan for this trial and national rollout is confirmed soon, and that people living in care homes can start to connect with society in a meaningful way again.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or e-mail