An industry group has warned that hundreds of care homes may be closed if double-jabbed staff become mandatory this week.

Fears that unvaccinated employees may leave or be fired from their jobs could force 500 provider to shut down their doors.

With the sector already at great strain, this would mean that thousands of residents in vulnerable situations will need a care home.

A total of 60,964 care staff appeared not to have had a second jab, or had it reported, by the end of October, although that will include staff who cannot be vaccinated for valid medical reasons and those whose vaccination status is unknown

The total number of care workers who had not had another jab or reported it by October 31st was 60,964, although this will also include those staff who are unable to be vaccinated due to valid medical reasons, and others whose status is unclear. 

The Government estimates 40,000 staff will be lost from care homes after this Thursday’s deadline for them to be double-jabbed.

According to NHS data, there might be over 60,000 people who have not received a second dose Covid-19 vaccine before October 31st.

Mike Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, who has worked in the sector for 30 years, said: ‘The deadline for care staff to be double-vaccinated could see up to 500 homes across England having to close their doors because they don’t have enough staff to operate safely.

‘If that happens, it begs the question of where thousands of residents would go, as they can’t go to hospitals and they can’t go to their own homes without care.’

The April deadline for the same legal requirement to double-jab staff at NHS will see it come into effect.

Professor Martin Green, head of Care England, which represents care homes, claimed yesterday that ministers like to test out controversial policies on social care and treat the service ‘like the child they are irritated with’, while the NHS is ‘the favoured child’.

As many as 500 providers may have to shut their doors due to having unsafe staffing levels as unvaccinated workers quit or lose their jobs, it is feared

Fears that unvaccinated employees may leave or quit work could force 500 providers to shut down. 

A survey of care workers by the union Unison found 97 per cent already say their homes have staff shortages, and around one in three say staffing levels are ‘dangerously low’ and getting worse.

One of the 746 staff surveyed said: ‘The dying aren’t dying with dignity as there’s not enough staff to sit with them in their final hours.’ Another said: ‘Staff morale is very low.

‘Everyone is tired and fed up. Care is awful – no time for nail care, proper washing, or having a chat with the residents.’

Mr Padgham, whose Independent Care Group represents providers in York and North Yorkshire, said: ‘The Government has delayed the deadline for mandatory vaccination in the NHS because the winter is going to be tough, but it will be tough for us too.’

He explained: ‘The services are interconnected, and if there aren’t care homes open, people can’t be discharged from hospital, so the system clogs up and everything gets worse.’

It came as a health chief warned yesterday that health trusts in England are already at ‘peak winter’ levels for bed occupancy early in the season.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told Times Radio: ‘Look at bed occupancy, which is a very good measure of how busy a hospital is – we’re seeing bed occupancy levels, it’s sort of 94, 95, 96 per cent.’

He added: ‘At this point, before we’re into peak winter.

‘We’ve not seen that before. That’s unprecedented.’

Yesterday a health chief warned that heath trusts in England are already at ¿peak winter¿ levels for bed occupancy

Yesterday a health chief warned that heath trusts in England are already at ‘peak winter’ levels for bed occupancy

But a more hopeful note was struck by Susan Hopkins, from the UK Health Security Agency, who was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday if people would be wearing masks, thinking about social distancing and feeling nervous in future festive seasons.

She said: ‘I think this hopefully will be the last Christmas where we have to think that way. I think we will know much more when we get to the spring.’

60,964 of the care workers did not appear to have received a second vaccination or reported it by October 31, although this will also include those who are unable to be vaccinated due medical reasons or staff whose status is unclear.

Many people have left care to find jobs in the grocery or parcel delivery industry.

Daily Mail long supported reforms to the current social care system.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We are working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high-quality care to meet increasing demands, with care homes and home care providers to benefit from a new £162.5million workforce retention and recruitment fund to bolster the dedicated care workforce.’

The Government yesterday said it had invested £250million to modernise diagnostics and help tackle patient waiting lists.