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.

Care providers face ‘catastrophic shortages’ as jab deadline looms

Union leaders warn that care providers could face “catastrophic” staff shortages if the government refuses to scrap its deadline of 11th November for all care workers in England to be double-jabbed.

The current deadline means that any care home workers or volunteers who have not yet taken up the vaccine must receive their first dose today in order to receive their second dose on time and continue to work in the sector. There are exemptions for those with certain medical conditions.

The policy was introduced to protect people living in care homes, who are among the most vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19.

Severe staffing crisis in care sector

But Unison has estimated that up to 70,000 care home workers in England may not be fully vaccinated by the 11th November deadline.

They say that this could put many care homes at risk of closure and that care agencies are already unable to provide emergency cover, creating a “severe staffing crisis,” for the sector.

Christine McAnea, General Secretary of the union, said:

“Everyone that can have the vaccine should have the vaccine, but the government has persisted with a heavy-handed approach despite warnings from care employers of the dire consequences.

“This move is damaging a sector already on its knees and undermining trust in the vaccine.”

She added that, if care providers struggle to fill roles vacated by unvaccinated staff, “the level and volume of care offered will be reduced,” and that the policy was “actively driving experienced staff away” from a sector already under immense pressure.

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison commented:

“Forcing vaccination of our key workers is not the way to address vaccine hesitancy.

“Care is already facing a staffing black hole of 170,000 by the end of the year. Even in a best-case scenario, we will lose tens of thousands of key workers if the jab is forced on them.

“How will care bosses deal with these huge staffing vacancies? How can they reassure people residents will receive safe care?”

Care workers feel ‘demoralised’

Meanwhile, David Kelly from workplace management app Deputy said the vaccine policy had left many care workers feeling “demoralised and undervalued.”

He added: “A number have explained they are not ‘anti vaxxers’ but have personal reasons for not wanting the vaccine, ranging from religious and cultural reasons, to health concerns.”

Supporting care staff with training and guidance

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

Their locality teams are also available to offer workplace support for local authorities and employers.

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 CareEquality, Diversity and InclusionUnderstanding 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 info@firstresponsetraining.com.

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 info@firstresponsetraining.com.