A letter from the Department of Health and Social Care to adult social care providers, local authorities and agencies explains that the time-period for people working or deployed in care homes to self-certify that they are medically exempt from vaccination is being extended to 31 March 2022.
This means that self-certification forms will continue to be valid as proof of temporary medical exemption status until the end of March, as long as they have been received by 24 December 2021. Staff should continue to be encouraged to use the official self-exemption form.
The reason for the extension is said to be because the DHSC are aware that some people who have applied for a formal exemption have experienced a delay in the outcome of their application being notified. The DHSC explain that extending the cut-off for self-certification will allow sufficient time for individuals whose formal medical exemption is unsuccessful to be fully vaccinated before 31 March 2022. The letter details further guidance for those individuals who may not have received their notification letters following their formal medical exemption applications and they are encouraged to call 119.
It also confirms that from 1 April 2022 individuals will either need to show proof of a formal medical exemption or be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to comply with the regulation and continue working in a CQC regulated care home.
In its final paragraphs, the DHSC asks that “care home workers who wish to apply for a formal medical exemption should do so as soon as possible and inform their employer of the outcome of their application once they receive it.”
Please do not hesitate to contact Joanna Burrows, Fiona Goodman, Rebecca Pallot or Surbhi Shah should you wish to discuss any of the issues raised here.