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Government U-turn on staff moving between care homes

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Staff will be allowed to move between care homes Staff will be allowed to move between care homes

The government has dropped plans to ban staff moving between care homes following pressure from the RCN.

Updated guidance on restricting staff movement between care homes has been published but plans to outright ban it have been scrapped. The RCN opposed the proposals in its response to the government’s consultation, stressing the workforce crisis in social care and admonishing the implication that staff were to blame for the spread of COVID-19 in care homes.

Read more: Dismay as Queen’s Speech contains little to aid social care

‘The Government’s climbdown is the right decision,’ said Acting RCN England Director Patricia Marquis.

‘We warned last year that this move would have a significant negative effect on social care staff who may have felt they were being scapegoated for spreading COVID-19 when in fact they are integral to safe and effective care measures to stop cross infection.’

Read more: Social care: An ‘urgent transformation’ is needed

Though the government has decided not to ban the movement of care home staff, it has published updated guidance on restricting staff movement. This guidance says routine staff movement should not be taking place. In those limited exceptional circumstances where staff movement is necessary to ensure the delivery of safe care, the guidance provides examples of how to mitigate the risks of this with frequent testing.

Read more: Can the Buurtzorg Model of nursing transform the NHS?

‘There is a workforce crisis in social care and a ban would have compounded an already-difficult situation. A ban would have undermined safe, person-centred care and punished unfairly diligent care home workers,’ added Ms Marquis.

‘The government urgently needs to come up with a long-term plan for the health and social care workforce.’

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