Health secretary Matt Hancock has today set out plans for care home staff and symptomatic residents to be tested for coronavirus, following concerns they were being neglected.
Mr Hancock said all symptomatic care home residents will be tested, alongside all social care staff ‘who need a test’ and anyone in their household with symptoms.
He continued: ‘I am deeply conscious that people in residential care homes are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus.
‘We have already begun testing social care workers and will roll this out nationwide over the coming days,’ he added.
Currently, the first five symptomatic residents in a care home setting are tested to provide confirmation of whether there is an outbreak.
But the latest announcement means that testing will be expanded to include all care home residents who develop symptoms and potential residents before they are discharged from hospital.
The Care Quality Commission will also contact all 30,000 care providers to offer tests to staff by the end of the week.
This comes after data published yesterday by the Office of National Statistics suggested that the UK’s total Covid-19 deaths might be higher than reported as care homes aren’t counted.
Social care nurses have also told Nursing in Practice they are concerned that Covid-19 can easily spread through a home, especially with homes struggling to get the PPE they need.
In addition, the Royal College of Nursing has warned that the lack of testing for NHS and social care staff is ‘unacceptable’.
The measures are expected to be outlined further in the Government’s Covid-19 social care action plan tomorrow.