Care homes are waiting up to 15 days for COVID-19 test results, new analysis has revealed.
Research carried out by the Daily Mail shows that staff or residents tested positive at a third of 19 care home providers over the past fortnight with several providers having to wait as long as 15 days for results and in some cases not hearing back from laboratories.
Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, said the testing chaos was “one of the Government’s greatest failings”.
She added: “I can’t believe they didn’t envisage that there would be an increase in demand for tests and results in a timely manner as lockdown was eased.
“We can’t deal with a postcode lottery at this critical time. As it stands, it is utterly chaotic, shambolic and a disgrace.”
The Mail also reported instances of care homes having to throw away tests because couriers did not turn up on time.
In on example, Dorset Council has written to Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, after a care home had to throw away 200 tests after the courier failed to arrive.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Every day we make sure care homes across the country receive 100,000 test kits with the vast majority reporting no problems.
“Alongside this we are providing every care home with free PPE until the end of March, ring-fencing £1.1bn to prevent infections and making a further £3.7bn available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic – including in adult social care.
“There continues to be a significant demand for tests, including from those without symptoms, so we are expanding capacity rapidly as well as bringing in new technology to process tests faster and will continue to work around the clock to process results as soon as possible.”