The draft regulations, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No.2) Regulations 2021 was made into law* yesterday and as reported in my article the grace period before the regulations applying to the healthcare sector commenced.
It is important for providers to note that the new legislation makes further amendments to Regulation 12 (safe care and treatment) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and that these amendments are applicable to all health and social care providers including care homes.
As a result, in addition to the existing exceptions that apply to care homes (visiting family and friends, under 18s, emergency service, and people undertaking urgent maintenance work) there are two further exceptions:
- that the worker has taken part in a clinical trial
- new recruits can be deployed having had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provided they have their second dose within 10 weeks of the first.
The exception that applies to new recruits is more of a temporary exception. As explained at Appendix 3 of the NHSEI guidance, the effect of the regulation is different for staff based on the date that they are first employed or engaged for the purposes of the regulated activity. If the individual is employed or engaged during the grace period and has had only one dose, the employer must ensure that the individual has received their second dose 10 weeks from the date of the first dose. If the individual is employed on or after the date the regulations come into force and has had only one dose, the first dose must have been received at least 21 days before the first day of deployment and the employer must ensure that the individual has received their second dose 10 weeks from the date of the first dose.
More detail of these amendments will be laid out in additional guidance, to be published by the Department of Health and Social Care.