COMPULSORY vaccinations could be on the way for all healthcare providers, an employment lawyer has said.

The warning that employers should prepare for the policy comes after the government moved to make Covid jabs compulsory for home care staff.

Kate Brooks, partner and head of employment at Ellis Jones Solicitors in Bournemouth, said all healthcare organisations should consider that the double-jab policy may be extended to them.

Matt Hancock announced when he was health secretary that care home workers would have 16 weeks to get both vaccines once regulations were approved by Parliament. He said the government would consult on extending the

requirement to NHS staff.

Kate Brooks said: “Mandatory vaccination for employees in Care Quality Commission-registered homes is a controversial move.

“It will also apply to agency staff and those who visit to provide services, such as beauticians and trades people.

“Medical exemptions will apply although it is unclear about whether religious or philosophical beliefs will also be taken into account.

“We will know more once the legislation makes its way through Parliament but it is entirely possible that the policy will be extended into other healthcare settings too.

“It would be prudent to consider this a starting shot start to begin preparations now rather than face a last-minute rush later on.”

She said practical steps employers should take included developing a vaccine policy; training managers and staff; ensuring equal opportunities and anti-harassment and bullying training is up to date; and consultation, education and support for all staff.

There have been more than 42,000 deaths involving Covid in care homes in England during the pandemic to date, according to the Office for National Statistics.