Government drops plan to ban staff moving between care homes following pressure from RCN

27 May 2021

Updated guidance on restricting staff movement between care homes has been published but plans to outright ban it have been scrapped.

Care home

Government plans to inhibit the movement of nursing staff between care settings in England have been dropped following pressure from the RCN and others. 

We strongly opposed the proposals in our response to the government’s consultation, stressing the workforce crisis in social care and admonishing the implication that staff were to blame for the spread of COVID-19 in care homes.

Acting RCN England Director Patricia Marquis said: “The Government’s climbdown is the right decision. We warned last year that this move would have a significant negative effect on social care staff who may have felt they were being scapegoated for spreading COVID-19 when in fact they are integral to safe and effective care measures to stop cross infection.

“There is a workforce crisis in social care and a ban would have compounded an already-difficult situation. A ban would have undermined safe, person-centred care and punished unfairly diligent care home workers.

“The government urgently needs to come up with a long-term plan for the health and social care workforce.”

Though the government has decided not to ban the movement of care home staff, it has published updated guidance on restricting staff movement.

This guidance says routine staff movement should not be taking place. In those “limited exceptional circumstances where staff movement is necessary to ensure the delivery of safe care”, the guidance provides examples of how to mitigate the risks of this with frequent testing.


Page last updated - 25/10/2021