Many disabled people choose to employ their own personal assistants to help them with tasks such as getting out of bed in the morning and supporting them through the day so they can work.

There are currently more than 100,000 vacancies in the social care sector and with more competitive salaries being offered in other sectors this means that some disabled people are now struggling to get the support they need.

The BBC's disability correspondent Nikki Fox met 16-year-old twins, Alex and Sam, who are on the search for a personal assistant.

Watch their story.


Published2 December

SectionBBC News


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Pauline explains how she uses her direct payments to employ a personal assistant. The PA explains what her role is.

24 Jan 2012

See the source image

Bedford Borough Council Communications

Parents in Bedford Borough talk about the role of a Personal Assistant Video created by Copperwheat Productions on behalf of Bedford Borough Council.

4 Jun 2021

The outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) is a current public health issue
and as such certain precautions need to be taken with both your own health and the
health of your employees. This guide contains the most common questions we have
been asked and some important information when employing personal assistants.
Please note that Government guidance and legal provisions are changing almost daily.
This FAQ is for guidance only.
The situation is unprecedented and it is a challenge to process and issue clear, correct
information and guidance to you all. This Q&A will be reviewed regularly and updated in
line with the national guidance at and
the national guidance at:

Stay connected and keep talking to each other and we will make this work because
everyone is pulling together. Take care of yourselves and your families.

General medical advice

Question 1: Where can I get medical advice if I am concerned about the
The Government are urging you to follow the NHS guidance which is being kept up to
date on their website:

Question 2: What happens if my PA becomes unwell at work?
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with coronavirus symptoms, they should:
 If possible, stay at least 2 metres (7 feet) away from other people;
 Go to a room or area behind a closed door;
 Avoid touching anything;
 Cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues,
cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow;
 Use a separate bathroom from others, if possible;
 The unwell person should either:
o use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service
o call 111, for NHS advice
o call 999, if they’re seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk
 It is best for the unwell person to use their own mobile phone to access these
services if possible.



All PAs are eligible for a free flu vaccination from their GP practice or a local community pharmacy.

Why you should get a flu vaccination

Getting the vaccine will help to protect you, your family, and the people you provide care and support for, from getting the flu.

For people in at-risk groups, such as those aged 65 or over or with an underlying health condition, flu can be a serious disease and can cause death.

As a PA, you may well be caring for people in these at-risk groups. Getting the vaccine will mean you are much less likely to catch the flu and spread the flu to those you care for, helping to protect them and yourself this winter.

Vaccination reduces the spread of flu among staff and people receiving care and support, keeping health and social care services running and reducing the burden on the NHS and social care systems during the winter. This is true every year, but it is particularly important this year, as COVID-19 is still in circulation.

How PAs can get a flu vaccination

The NHS provides a vaccination scheme that provides free flu vaccinations to some health and social care workers, including PAs. Some health and social care organisations, such as large care homes, may run their own vaccination schemes, but this is unlikely to apply to PAs.

To access the scheme, you simply need to attend a GP practice or community pharmacy and identify yourself as a PA.

However, we are aware that individuals have been asked to provide proof in the past. If you are asked to provide proof some of the things you could use are:

  1. A letter from your employer.

  2. An ID badge.

  3. A payslip.

You will then need to visit your local GP practice or community pharmacist, who will be able to give you the flu vaccination. If you need to prove your entitlement, you can use any of the suggested proof above and a copy of this guidance. The vaccination will then be given to you, free of charge.

When to get the flu vaccine

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, before flu starts to circulate. The majority of vaccines are given from September to the end of November but it’s still possible to get a flu vaccination through to the end of January.

There is enough flu vaccine for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. If you are eligible and are asked to wait, there is still time to get vaccinated at a later opportunity.

Safety of the flu vaccination

The flu vaccines used in the national NHS programme have a good safety record. The vaccines are thoroughly tested before they are made available in England.

You may have a mild fever and aching muscles a few days after having the vaccine and your arm may be sore at the injection site. Further information is available on possible side effects.

Those who shouldn’t get a flu vaccine

Most adults can have the injected flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past. If you are uncertain whether you should avoid it due to a medical condition, you should speak to your GP.

You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs. Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.

If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.

Effectiveness of the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against flu, which can cause serious illness and death in at-risk groups.

Studies have shown that the flu vaccine will help prevent you from getting flu.

Flu is caused by a number of different strains of the flu virus and the vaccine only protects against those that are most likely to cause flu during this year’s flu season. As a result, there’s not a 100% guarantee that you won’t get flu if you’ve been vaccinated.

However, even if you do get flu after being vaccinated, studies have shown that you’re likely to have a much milder and shorter illness.

You cannot catch flu from the flu vaccine because there are no live viruses in the vaccine given to adults.

This quick guide will help home care workers and personal assistants to provide care and support to people who have left hospital after having COVID-19.

Following The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) review of testing for personal assistants and consultation with the sector, DHSC are pleased to announce that testing for personal assistants has moved to twice weekly rapid Lateral Flow Testing (LFT), with confirmatory PCR tests for a positive test. Further information can be found on the Government’s website.

Self-isolation and sick pay

When someone cannot come to work because they need to self-isolate and when they must get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Going to the workplace

Going into work, keeping staff and the workplace safe, and if someone has COVID-19.

Getting the vaccine for work

Including time off work, whether employers can make staff get vaccinated and information for care home staff.


Employee and worker rights if they're sick with long COVID, and what the employer should do.

Disciplinary and grievance procedures

Carrying out fair disciplinary and grievance procedures during the pandemic.

Holiday and leave

Advice on time off during COVID-19, using and carrying over holiday, and returning to the UK.

Testing for COVID-19

If an employer is considering COVID-19 testing at work, and if staff are worried about testing.

Mental health

Looking after mental health at work during the pandemic.

Furlough and pay

How the furlough scheme worked, and keeping furlough agreements.

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