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12 July, 2021 Open access

Cross-party scrutiny committee summons Covid Vaccine Minister to address concerns about proposed vaccination of care home staff as a condition of employment

Lords committee also says the lack of clarity and practical detail in the draft regulations make effective scrutiny of the instrument impossible

The cross-party House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has summonsed the Covid Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi to attend an evidence session tomorrow in order to address its concerns about the proposed vaccination of care home staff as a condition of employment.

Having considered the draft Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 - that will make it mandatory for anyone working in a care home to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus unless subject to a medical exemption - in last week's legislative scrutiny report the Committee raised a number of concerns about the regulations and accompanying documents which led it to conclude that -

‘… the instrument should be drawn to the special attention of the House on the grounds that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument’s policy objective and intended implementation.’

However, not satisfied with the additional information subsequently provided by the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) to address its concerns, the Committee has confirmed that Mr Zahawi has agreed to give evidence to the Committee on Tuesday 13 July 2021 to address the following points in detail -

For more information, see Lords summon Minister to address concerns about proposed vaccination of care home staff as a condition of employment from parliament.uk

Update (20 July 2021) - the Committee has published its report of the oral evidence session held on 13 July 2021 that concludes - 

'We are grateful to the Minister and to the DHSC for the further information and explanations they have provided. Even so, we remain unclear about the justification for some of the policy choices underlying these Regulations and also the basis on which the department struck a balance between public health benefits and the impact on the rights of individuals. We have no doubt that the House will wish to press the Government for answers to this and many other questions in the course of the approval motion debate.'

The Committee's 10th Report of Session 2021/2022 is available from parliament.uk