The government took five weeks to act on warnings that roaming care home staff could be spreading coronavirus, it has been revealed.
Minutes from the government’s advisory panel on respiratory diseases seen by The Telegraph show that the deputy chief medical officer had privately warned ministers of concerns regarding staff moving between care homes in early April.
A Public Health England study in April also highlighted how workers moving between care homes were spreading COVID-19 but it was not until mid-May that the government issued guidance restricting the movement of staff between homes.
New research published by the ONS last week cited higher use of agency staff as a trend amongst homes with greater infection rates.
A DHSC spokesman said: “It is our priority to protect care home staff and residents throughout this pandemic. Our guidance has always been informed by the latest evidence available at the time, and is regularly updated. On 15 May we published our care home support package which followed the latest evidence from PHE and recommended a range of measures care homes could take to limit the spread of the virus. This included limiting the movement of staff.”