Mandatory Vaccination – CQC is watching you!
It is now common knowledge that, with effect from 11 November 2021, all care home workers, and anyone entering a care home, will need to be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt under the Regulations. But how, and by whom, will this be enforced and what are the possible penalties for failing to comply with the Regulations?
It is the responsibility of the registered provider to ensure compliance and, whilst they will not be required to show a record of the evidence itself to CQC inspectors, they will need to be able to provide reassurance that systems and processes are in place to ensure individuals entering a home are fully vaccinated. New questions will be added to the Provider Information Return (PIR) and to the application process for new providers, or existing providers wishing to vary the terms of their registration, asking “How are you assured that those you employ and deploy within your service are vaccinated in line with government requirements?”
The Care Quality Commission will enforce the vaccine mandate by monitoring and enforcing appropriate cases in line with its existing assessment and enforcement policies and will take a proportionate approach. In a statement, the CQC has said:
“Any enforcement activity which is generated as a result of a breach of the amended Regulations will be undertaken on a proportionate basis, based on our assessment of the impact on quality of care and people’s safety, in line with our existing enforcement policy. We will decide whether/what action to take based on proportionality, treating each case individually and on its own merits, in line with our enforcement policy”
Potential penalties for non-compliance include civil enforcement action by CQC (including issuing a warning notice, varying or removing registration conditions, issuing a notice of proposal/decision to suspend or cancel registration and making an application to court for immediate cancellation / suspension whether there is a serious risk to a person’s life) and possible criminal enforcement action against the registered provider and/or registered manager where a breach results in avoidable harm or a significant risk of avoidable harm to a service user resulting in a maximum fixed penalty notice of £2,000 (for a registered manager) or £4,000 (for a registered provider).
Remember, CQC inspectors are included within the scope of ‘visiting professionals’ for the purpose of the Regulations. As such, compliance with the Regulations would be an appropriate reason for not granting access to a CQC inspector, or other individual, unless they are exempt.
If you would like advice on any particular aspect of the above, please contact the Care team to discuss how we can help you.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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