Nearly a third of Covid-19 test results for care home staff in Portsmouth City Council’s care homes are not being returned, according to the leader of the local authority.
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson has written a letter to Boris Johnson informing him that 30% of Covid-19 tests for care home staff in Portsmouth City Council care homes are not having a result sent back.
‘I was shocked by this, but was told that this situation is improving,’ wrote Cllr Vernon-Jackson in the letter to the prime minister.
‘It is an impossible situation for people to run care homes safely and efficiently if they do not get the results of Covid-19 tests sent back accurately and in a timely way.
‘A 30% failure rate in sending back test results is just not good enough,’ he added. ‘Please can you get the Test and Trace system to work properly so that we have the ability to identify care staff who have caught the virus and send them home so they do not pass on infections to other care staff or residents in care homes. This is just not good enough.
‘I am extremely worried that the lack of an effective and efficient testing system means that it will become increasingly difficult to run the care sector and look after vulnerable residents through the winter. If staff have to wait for test results that do not arrive, and cannot work until they do, the number of people who are available to work in care homes will be put under great stress. This could lead to a disaster.’
It comes as the Department for Health and Social Care announces that one in eight people in England have now been tested for coronavirus.
Official figures show 1,588,760 tests were processed in the UK in pillars 1 and 2 during the week of 17–23 September.
‘One in eight people in England have now received a test at least once and with nearly 500 testing sites across the UK, the median distance to a test site is now just 4.3 miles. These are achievements in which everyone involved can be immensely proud,’ said interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, Baroness Dido Harding.
‘We are continuing to work tirelessly to increase capacity and make tests as accessible as possible. Our new lab partnership with Birmingham University is another example of how the public, private and academic sectors are working together to meet our target of 500,000 test capacity a day.’
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