Vaccination as a condition of deployment in health and social care
CQC share an update to our regulatory approach in response to the regulations relating to vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) being revoked for all health and social are workers, including people working in care homes.
Last year the government introduced vaccination as a condition of deployment in care homes, as part of changes to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (‘the Regulations). This came into effect on 11 November 2021.
The government’s changes to the regulations required all care home workers and other visiting professionals to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they fell within an exemption.
The government also planned to introduce a vaccination as a condition of deployment duty in healthcare and wider adult social care settings which was due to come in to force on 1 April 2022.
On 31 January 2022, the government announced its intention to revoke the regulations making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in both health and social care settings, subject to consultation and parliamentary process. Following the consultation, the government confirmed they would bring forward regulations to revoke vaccination as a condition of deployment. The regulations came in to force on 15 March 2022.
What have CQC been looking for at registration and during inspection?
From 11 November 2021, we have been inspecting care homes against regulation 12(3) of the Regulations, during site inspections including infection, prevention and control (IPC) inspections. Our registration assessment processes for care home providers and managers were also updated.
What will CQC be doing now that the regulation has been revoked?
In response to the recent consultation, from Tuesday 15 March 2022 vaccination as a condition of deployment has been revoked for all health and social care staff including staff working in or deployed to care homes. This means that there is no longer a free-standing requirement to be vaccinated to work in a care setting and as such we have amended our inspection methodologies to reflect this.
Throughout the government consultation period we continued to regulate against the Act, checking vaccination record keeping and communications in care homes.
Each location that was found in breach of regulation 12(3) will have their inspection report reviewed in respect of these changes. We will assess whether the location’s rating has been affected by this removal and take necessary action to ensure our assessment of a service meets applicable regulations. We will be treating each location individually and assessing the particular circumstances.