A new online portal has been launched for the delivery of coronavirus test kits to care homes.
The online platform is designed to help ensure all care home staff and residents in England are tested for coronavirus. Care homes looking after the over 65s will be prioritised initially for testing.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, (pictured) said: “The additional testing capacity we have achieved delivers many thousands of tests a day for residents and staff in care homes.
“This new portal allows those who book tests for staff and residents to do so even more easily, and it also offers a route for the prioritisation of care homes with the greatest need.
“We will continue to grow our testing capacity, as we know the certainty and confidence that high quality testing can provide.”
Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, added: “Care homes are on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 and we are determined that staff have everything they need to keep themselves and their residents safe. Testing is a crucial part of this. It helps prevent and control outbreaks and means steps can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable. By prioritising thousands of tests for care home staff and residents, we can target our national testing capacity in the areas and care homes with the greatest need.”
The Department of Health and Social Care is working with local authority Directors of Public Health, Directors of Adult Social Services and local NHS providers to deliver the testing programme for care homes.
Test results for residents will be communicated to care home managers. The information will also be provided to councils in order to help manage coronavirus outbreaks in local areas.
The launch of the new service follows a survey by the National Care Forum which revealed that only one in five social care workers had managed to access tests with some having to travel long distances to their nearest centre.