All care home staff and residents will now be able to be tested, as the government expands its response to the coronavirus crisis.
The Department of Health and Social Care announced yesterday (28 April) that it was expanding its testing programme.
As part of the expansion, all NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents will be eligible for testing whether or not they have symptoms.
In addition, the government said it is working with Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the government is piloting sending packages of ‘satellite’ test kits directly to care homes across England to enable testing of residents.
So far, 4,760 tests have been delivered to more than 4,300 locations.
In addition, over 25,000 care staff have already been tested.
A network of mobile testing units is also travelling the country to reach care homes, police stations, prisons and other sites where there is demand for testing.
The network is expected to reach over 70 units by the weekend.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has also announced that from today (29 April), fatalities in care homes will be included in the government’s daily coronavirus death toll.
This follows the publication of new data from the Care Quality Commission and the Office for National Statistics, which showed care homes reported more than 4,300 coronavirus-related deaths in a fortnight.
The chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, said it was pleased ministers had heeded its calls on including the figures in the daily update.
‘This is so that we have a full picture of the impact of the pandemic and can ensure that no one feels their loved ones are being treated like a second-class citizen,’ said Mr Dickson.
‘Whilst we welcome the government’s announcement that it will continue to expand drive-through testing centres, mobile testing sites and the number of home-testing kits available to households, our members continue to identify that key health and care workers face barriers to accessing testing themselves,’ he added.
‘It is so important that the government continues to engage with health leaders on agreeing suitable and easily accessible sites for NHS and social care workers to get tested.’
Photo Credit – Jarmoluk (Pixabay)