Last reviewed 30 November 2021

Guidance for care homes in England has been updated so that restrictions on care staff working in more than one home are lifted if there are “capacity concerns and to ensure continuity of care”.

With the positive impacts of the vaccine rollout and pressures of staff shortages, the guidance provides circumstances “in which some movement of staff may be cautiously permitted” by care home providers.

It was in March 2021 that the Government decided to limit all routine movement between different care settings as a critical infection prevention and control (IPC) measure. It only allowed the movement of staff in very limited exceptional circumstances.

Restricting staff movement still remains an important measure to minimise the risk of infection of Covid-19.

However, the guidance, Restricting Workforce Movement Between Care Homes and Other Care Settings, states that from now on care homes do not need to limit the movement of staff who are not providing direct nursing or personal care. This includes administrative staff, cooks, cleaners, or managerial staff, and registered managers where they are not also providing direct care.

Routine movement of staff giving personal care and nursing care is still banned.

But specialist trainers and educators “who ensure the continued quality, knowledge and skills within staff teams is maintained and staff with additional, specialist training to meet a person’s needs that could not be delivered by other staff” will also be able to move between multiple care homes.

Restrictions on the movement of staff can also be lifted if there is a specific risk to a resident’s wellbeing, for example if a resident needs to be cared for by staff they recognise or have an established bond with.

All staff who move between different care homes must be fully vaccinated with at least two doses; it became a legal requirement for any member of staff working in a care home to be fully vaccinated from 11 November. They must also take a lateral flow test at the beginning of a working day and have a negative result.

The Government has recommended that staff moving between care homes and other health or care settings should also have had a Covid-19 booster vaccination and recent flu vaccination unless they are exempt.

The Infection Control and Testing Fund (ICTF), which has been extended until March 2022, supports adult social care providers financially to reduce the rate of Covid-19 transmission within and between care settings. This includes compensating staff whose normal hours are reduced due to restrictions on their movement. Further detail and guidance is provided in the ICTF Guidance.