Care providers are gearing up for further staff shortages in advance of new rules that will prevent the movement of staff between care settings introduced through the Regulation 18 clause, finds a poll of care providers by law firm Royds Withy King.
The poll of 136 care home operators held on 23 November reports that 70% of care providers are bracing themselves for staff shortages if the proposed changes to Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 are adopted in their current form.
James Sage, Head of the Social Care team and a specialist employment lawyer at Royds Withy King, comments.
“Regulation 18 is a temporary measure that would prevent care providers from allowing staff to work in more than one care setting without first placing that member of staff into a two-week quarantine.
“This would seriously impact the ability of care providers to adequately resource care provision at a time when the sector is under immense pressure due to Covid and facing a staffing crisis.”
The proposed changes to Regulation 18 would:
- Apply to residential care services;
- Restrict staff that provide nursing or personal care in one setting from doing so in another within a 14-day period; and
- extend to bank and agency staff.
James adds: “The proposals do include a limited number of exceptions permitting care providers to break these rules in emergencies or to ensure they have enough staff to provide the care needed whilst they look to comply with the regulations.
“In those instances, care providers will need to demonstrate that they have plans in place and are activity taking steps to comply with the changes to Regulation 18.
Where providers need to rely on agency staff to fill shifts, they should agree contracts for exclusive use of particular agency workers.”