Coronavirus testing to be rolled out across social care sector

By Laura Sharman | 15 April 2020

The Government has pledged to offer testing for coronavirus to all social care staff and care home residents.

All care residents with symptoms will now be tested for COVID-19, as well as everyone being discharged from hospital into a care home.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will also contact all 30,000 care providers in the next few days to offer tests for staff.

Secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock, said: 'I am deeply conscious that people in residential care are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus. We are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe, and I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one.

'We have already begun testing social care workers and will roll this out nationwide over the coming days.'

The move follows expert recommendations made to a select committee last week. It has been welcomed by the NHS Confederation, but it warned health leaders were already reporting problems with getting access to tests.

'We need absolute clarity from the Government on how this will be achieved in such a short space of time otherwise it will be viewed as a false promise,' said Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation.

'Also, if we are to understand and beat this virus we need to understand how and where it is spreading, and for the frontline to be protected. That is why the number of deaths in care homes should be released daily in the same way as they are for hospital deaths and why the workforce must be given better access to PPE.'

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