The government has today pledged to provide a coronavirus test for “everyone who needs one” in social care.
Amongst a series of commitments the government said all patients discharged from hospital will be tested before going into care homes.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock (pictured) 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.”
The government said laboratory capacity was being ramped up so that all social care staff who need a test could have one. The CQC is to contact all 30,000 care providers in the coming days to offer tests.
The move was welcomed by Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, who said: “During this dreadful pandemic it is hard to find things to be positive about, but today’s announcement from DHSC that testing will be available for all social care staff and residents that need it is indeed welcome. Care homes will be in a much better position to face this virus head on once they have been able to test both their staff, residents and new residents who have been discharged from hospital into their care homes.”
Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, also welcomed the move but said it had come “way too late in the day”.
“The care sector has been asking for this since day 1 of the pandemic, and the government has been extremely slow to respond to the emerging crisis,” Vic added.