NHS Providers has hit back at reports that trusts have knowingly discharged patients with COVID-19 back into care homes.
The association of NHS trusts has published a new report today, which claims trusts have gone to great lengths to support care homes through the coronavirus pandemic.
Care homes up and down the country have been affected by the pandemic, with thousands of suspected or confirmed cases.
According to figures published last week by Public Health England, 418 care homes had suspected or confirmed outbreaks in the week ending 10 May.
While figures published over the weekend by the Scottish Government show that 486 adult care homes had a current case of suspected COVID-19, up to 16 May.
According to the NHS Providers report, between 19 March and 15 April, the vast majority of patients discharged from hospitals did not go to care homes.
Instead, the report says they were discharged to other settings such as community hospitals, or to their home with support from carers, as advised in the national guidance.
It states that trusts consistently acted in accordance with the guidance, only discharging known or suspected COVID-19 patients to a care home if it had agreed it had the capacity to treat and isolate this type of patient.
It adds trust leaders responded quickly to the risk of discharging COVID-19 patients who showed no symptoms of infection into care homes, long before the government announced that they would have to test every single patient prior to discharge.
‘The NHS has done everything it could to respond to the unprecedented challenge presented by coronavirus,’ said NHS Providers deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery.
‘That includes working closely with colleagues in the care sector, building on longstanding relationships to provide much-needed support.
‘It is a damaging and mistaken belief that trusts knowingly and systematically discharged COVID-19 patients into care homes,’ she added.
‘It will be for a public inquiry to establish why mortality in care homes has run so high.
‘But we can see that the failures of testing to date and the supply of PPE have hit the care sector particularly hard and remain problematic,’ added Ms Cordery.
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