New research shows the government missed its target of having all care home residents and staff tested for COVID-19 by early June.
Labour shadow care minister Liz Kendall disputed the government’s claim to have met its target, however, arguing it had been shifted from having all care home staff and residents tested to having tests delivered.
New research from The Data Analysis Bureau (T-DAB) based on anonymised data from Person Centred Software shows only 58% of residents have been tested, up from just 13% on 25 May.
Simon Briscoe, Director of T-DAB, said: “The rate of testing rose dramatically in the last week of May and into June as the government sent roughly 1 million test kits to care homes. The many links in the chain of testing from care home staff, local health officials, a website and test centres, combined to leave testing rates very low. With barely half of residents having been tested it shows that more than simply issuing testing kits is required to provide care homes with the support and guidance they need.”
Simon Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, added: “The government’s test and track initiative is unproven and mixed messages have been received by care homes about the effectiveness of testing. Universal and frequently repeated testing is not yet policy and care homes remain at risk as a result.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have achieved our target to offer testing to every care home for the over 65s, or those with dementia, in England by June 6.
“We sent more than one million test kits to almost 9,000 care homes, and are now sending out thousands more tests every day to residents and staff in all remaining care homes.”