Richmond Fellowship is part of Recovery Focus, a group of charities with the shared aim to Inspire Recovery Together www.recoveryfocus.org.uk
As a mental health and recovery focussed group of charities, we knew how vital it was for people to look after their mental health during the pandemic. We put robust measures and contingency plans in place at both national and local level to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all staff and people we support.
We maintain vigilance over the situation and our most recent COVID-19 update can be found below.
What’s your VACCINATION status?
From November 11 2021, new government regulations mean that all care home workers, visitors and potential residents must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and be able to provide evidence unless they are exempt.
From this date, staff will be required to check your vaccination or exemption status before allowing you into the building. This is to make our care homes as safe as possible for our workers and the people that they care for, some of whom may be most at risk from Covid-19.
Need to evidence their status
- Staff working in or visiting the building
- Contractors or tradespeople attending to complete routine or planned maintenance work
- People who have applied to live here. Also their family, friends and/ or carers who may visit before they become a resident
- People attending a job interview
- People who provide services to residents such as Care Coordinators and other professionals (e.g hairdressers, beauticians, and cleaners)
- CQC inspectors
- Couriers, delivery drivers and people delivering post (where they need to enter the building, for example to deliver a heavy item).
Do NOT need to evidence their status
- Residents and their friends, family (who may also be unpaid carers) and essential care givers
- People under the age of 18
- Members of the emergency services
- Members of the public assisting with an emergency such as a fire or a serious flood
- Social workers responding to immediate safeguarding concerns
- Mental Health professionals attending to respond to an emergency/ crisis
- Workmen or tradespeople responding to complete an emergency repair such as a dangerous electrical fault, or a loss of water/ gas, a gas leak or a serious flood where there is a risk to life, or the continuity of care provided on site
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter and for going the extra mile to keep people we support and our staff safe. For more information, please speak to staff on site or review the full Department of Health and Social Care Guidance at www.gov.uk
Evidencing your vaccination or exemption status in CQC Registered Care Homes
Why am I being asked to give you evidence of my vaccination status?
The Government introduced a new regulation from 11 November 2021 making it mandatory for all care home workers and anyone entering a care home to be fully vaccinated unless exempt under the regulations. This service is a Care Home regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which must follow the new regulations. This means you must show us proof of vaccination or exemption status to enter the care home. Proof includes your NHS Covid Pass or exemption certificate. Please see FAQs below, “What evidence do I need to provide?” and “Am I exempt and how do I prove this?”.
This requirement is set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (‘the Regulations”)
What does “fully vaccinated” mean?
Fully vaccinated means you have received the full course of two doses of an authorised vaccination. The current care home guidance does not require you to wait two weeks to be considered fully vaccinated. Boosters are not currently covered by the regulation but may be added in future.
Where do the new regulations apply?
The regulations apply to any site registered with the Care Quality Commission as a care home providing nursing or personal care. It does not apply to other CQC registered sites, such as those registered to provide domiciliary care. However, the regulations may be extended to cover other Health and Social care settings where services are provided to people who are at higher risk of serious harm if they contract Covid-19.
Who needs to provide evidence of their vaccination or exemption status?
Anyone entering the care home in a non-emergency situation to provide services to people living in the home, (including services such as hairdressing or mindfulness sessions for example), or who are undertaking routine work to maintain the home.
Please also be aware that if you attend our building on a semi-regular basis and there is a different staff member on shift, you may be asked to show your evidence again. Thank you for your co-operation in this matter. See “How long do you keep this evidence?” for more information.
|Do need to evidence their status||Do not need to evidence their status|
What evidence do I need to provide?
People vaccinated by the NHS in England can demonstrate their vaccination status using the NHS Covid Pass Service via the following three routes:
- The NHS App
- The NHS Website – NHS.uk
- The NHS Covid Pass letter
People can register to access their NHS Covid Pass via the NHS App on their smartphone, or via the NHS website. This is the same Covid Vaccination Pass you would need to show if you were going on holiday or attending a sporting event. On the NHS App, it looks like this:
Please note, if you do not already access medical records via the NHS website or app, it may take a few days to set up the first time you register. If you are visiting the service for the first time, please start your NHS Covid Pass registration as early as possible to ensure you have access to it ready for your visit.
You can also request a Covid Pass Letter in the post. You can order online by searching “Get your NHS Covid Pass” or by calling 119 (for people vaccinated in England).
Other forms of evidence such as an appointment card or letter are NOT considered to be acceptable evidence under the regulations, and staff on-site WILL NOT accept other forms of evidence.
People vaccinated in Scotland can find information on how to obtain a record of their Covid-19 Vaccination Status from nhsinformscot. People vaccinated in Wales can find out how to obtain a record of their Covid-19 Vaccination Status from gov.wales. The government is aware that some people may have been vaccinated outside of the UK and are working on a solution to this. We will issue updated guidance once it has been agreed upon.
In the meantime, staff and volunteers working in the service who have been vaccinated abroad or in devolved nations, and therefore cannot access their Covid-pass to verify their vaccination status to their employer can complete a self-certification form to underpin their status.
What if I can’t prove my vaccination or exemption status?
If you are not able to prove your vaccination or exemption status, you will not be permitted to enter the building. The only exception would be in cases of emergency such as a fire or a serious flood where members of the public and others such as social workers are permitted to enter without delay in order to provide emergency support to a person who is at risk of harm or is in crisis.
The guidance is very clear that being unable to evidence your vaccination or exemption status is an appropriate reason for not granting entry to a CQC Inspector or other relevant individuals.
Am I exempt?
For a small number of people, vaccination is not appropriate due to clinical reasons. These people will be able to seek a clinically approved exemption from the requirement to be vaccinated to enter the regulated setting. There are a limited range of circumstances in which an exemption may be granted. While this list is not exhaustive, examples of medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination could include individuals:
- receiving end of life care where vaccination is not in the individual’s interests
- with learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or with a combination of impairments which result in the same distress, who find vaccination and testing distressing because of their condition and cannot be achieved through reasonable adjustments such as provision of an accessible environment
- with medical contraindications to the vaccines such as severe allergy to all COVID-19 vaccines or their constituents
- who have had adverse reactions to the first dose (for example, myocarditis)
Time-limited exemptions will also be available for those with short-term medical conditions (for example, people receiving hospital care or receiving medication which may interact with the vaccination). A time-limited exemption is also available for pregnant women should they choose to take it.
Exemptions for conditions listed in section 4.4 (special warnings and precautions for use) in the “Summary of Product Characteristics” for each of the approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna) may also be considered.
How do I prove I am exempt?
Staff and volunteers working in care homes who have a medical reason why they are unable to have a Covid-19 vaccination will be able to self-certify that they meet the medical exemption criteria. Please use this form. Once the NHS Covid Pass system is launched, care home workers and volunteers will need to apply for a formal medical exemption through that process. The temporary self-certification will expire 12 weeks after the NHS Covid Pass system is launched.
Visitors must follow the government process when it is decided. Currently, there is no way for visitors to show they are exempt. This process should be in place by 11 November.
A risk assessment will be undertaken for people who are exempt from vaccination to reduce the risk of transmission. This means that, if you are exempt from vaccination, you may:
- be asked to follow different or more robust infection control measures when you are in the building such as using face coverings
- asked not to enter certain areas which may not be well ventilated or where there may be other particularly vulnerable people present
What will you do with the evidence I provide and how long will you keep it?
For visitors to the building and people who do not work for Richmond Fellowship, we will need to record:
- your vaccination or exemption status
- the date your status was last checked
- who checked your status
The reason for your exemption will not need to be shared with us and will not be recorded.
The way this information is stored may vary from service to service but will always be confidential and will not be accessible to other visitors.
The ‘Visitor Covid-19 Vaccination or Exemption Status log’ will be reviewed every three months and any person who has not visited the service during that time will be removed from the list. This means that details of your vaccination or exemption status will not be held for any longer than 6 months from the date you last visited us. As an example:
|March||Records checked – I visited within the last 3 months, so my record is retained|
|June||Records checked – my record is deleted as I have not visited within the last 3 months|
For employees and volunteers of Richmond Fellowship who work in the building, the evidence will be stored on our HR System called “Workday”. Workday employs rigorous security measures and encrypts data within the application before it is stored in the database (the “Cloud”). It relies on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm, which is one of the highest levels of encryption meaning your data will be safe and secure. In line with the Information Commissioners Office Employment Practices Data Protection Code, and our own internal Document Retention schedule, this information will be stored for 6 years after a person leaves their employment, whereby it will be automatically deleted by the system.
Who will see my vaccination or exemption status information?
Staff at the service who maintain the mandatory vaccination or exemption visitors log will see the vaccination or exemption status of people whose names are entered on the log. If you are exempt, the underlying reason for your exemption will not be captured, only the fact that you are exempt and the date that this was checked.
This log will be reviewed by staff every three months. If you have not visited the building during the last 12 weeks, your record will be deleted. If you visit the building again subsequently, you’ll be asked to provide evidence again and a new log entry will be made.
Apart from staff who work in the building, Richmond Fellowship staff from other areas of the organisation such as our Quality Team or a Registered Manager from another service may, on occasion, view the log as part of an audit. Similarly, if we are inspected by our external regulator, the Care Quality Commission, the CQC Inspector who audits our work may ask to see the log to check that we are adhering to the regulations.
Aside from this, other times we can foresee potentially sharing this information with anyone outside of Richmond Fellowship may be in the event of a legal issue or a formal complaint where this data was relevant evidence. In this situation, your vaccination or exemption status may be shared with the person hearing the case or complaint, and any legal representatives/ others involved.