Coronavirus: Ministers commit to intensify COVID-19 testing for residents and staff of nursing homes | UK News


Ministers pledged to step up coronavirus testing for residents and staff in nursing homes as concerns grow that the virus is “rampaging” in adult social services.

Opposition parties have warned of a “growing crisis” in nursing homes, elderly residents being particularly vulnerable COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

And there are increasing demands for deaths in nursing homes to be included in daily hospital death updates to keep “potentially thousands” of deaths from going “under the radar”.

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In response to these concerns, the government has committed to ensuring that all social care workers who need a test for COVID-19 can access it, as testing capacity continues to increase.

Ministers pledged to perform 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, a Downing Street target insists that the UK is on track to meet it.

The latest figures show that 14,982 tests were carried out in the 24 hours until 9:00 am Tuesday. So far, only 505 social workers have been tested for coronavirus.

The Care Quality Commission will coordinate the tests and aims to have contacted 30,000 healthcare providers by the end of the week.

Healthcare providers will be asked to identify workers eligible for the test and then refer them to their local test center.

In addition, all residents of a nursing home with symptoms of the disease will be tested, rather than the first five symptoms, as is currently the case.

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And for those who are discharged from the hospital, they will be systematically tested before returning to their care home.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “deeply aware” that people in nursing homes are among the most vulnerable to coronavirus.

He said, “We are doing everything we can to keep workers, residents and their families safe, and I am determined to make sure everyone who needs a coronavirus test has access to it.

“We have already started testing social workers and we will be rolling this out across the country in the next few days.

“And as we continue to scale up our testing program, we will test all current residents of nursing homes with symptoms of coronavirus and all new residents of nursing homes who are discharged from hospital for treatment.

“Testing is essential in our fight against coronaviruses, and as part of our plan to prevent the spread and save lives, we will ensure that all social care providers who need a test are able to do so. pass.”

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The Labor Party has said that increased testing in the sector is essential to tackling what was an “emerging crisis”.

Liz Kendall, the party’s shadow minister for social care, said: “We look forward to seeing how this latest commitment is met, with only 500 healthcare workers having been tested to date.

“The government has rightly said that the NHS will get all the resources it needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This must also apply to social care, which needs far more priority and attention than it has had until now.

“At the same time, ministers must ensure that all nursing homes and home care staff get the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) they need and publish daily figures on deaths outside hospitals , including in nursing homes, so that we know the magnitude of the challenge we face. face. “

The head of public health in England said on Tuesday that health organizations were “working to” include coronavirus deaths in nursing homes in daily government figures.

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Professor Yvonne Doyle told the COVID-19 press conference that PHE is working with the Office for National Statistics to get faster data on deaths in nursing homes, hospices, private homes and elsewhere.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said at the same briefing that residents and workers in nursing homes “have not been forgotten at all” by the government.

He stressed the need for “consistent, accurate and timely” data.

When asked if it would be more “respectful” to publish deaths in nursing homes at the same time as deaths in hospitals, he replied, “There is absolutely no desire not to respect what is happening in nursing homes and provide this data. “

The latest weekly data from the ONS showed that around 10% of deaths recorded until April 3 in England and Wales were out of hospitals.

NHS Confederation Executive Director Niall Dickson said, “The spread in nursing homes is largely overlooked, as the figures are not published in the same way as daily hospital death statistics.

“If we are to understand the real extent of the spread, the number of deaths in nursing homes must be published daily in the same way as for hospital deaths.”

Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships for the Alzheimer Society, said, “If the government is not counting these deaths, how can it take the urgent and necessary action to deal with them?”

“It strikes us that these coronavirus deaths are the iceberg, and the hospital numbers are just the tip.

“Evidence from Europe shows that more than 40% of all coronavirus-related deaths occur in nursing homes, so we fear that thousands of deaths in the UK are potentially overlooked by official figures. “


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