MILITARY personnel from the British Army in mobile testing at Army Barracks | Guidance on Care Homes

Care workers fail to access testing as care home CV19 deaths continue to soar

Fewer than one in four priority care workers have been able to access COVID-19 tests, a survey by the National Care Forum has revealed.

That is despite these workers having symptoms of COVID-19 and actively seeking testing. In total only 1,436 workers out of 6,469 have received the testing support pledged by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The findings come as latest official figures show a one week leap in the number of COVID-19 care home deaths of almost 2,800 people. As of April 24, just short of 5,900 people have died in care homes of CV-19 – which now represents more than one in five of all CV-19 deaths.

The NCF survey shows that the absolute commitment to testing for care workers made on Wednesday 15 April is not being met. The organisation reports that via the employer portal, only 2 per cent (138 out of 6469) of staff were able to receive a test at drive-through centres, with no home testing being available on the system via this route. It also warns that there is a significant manual backlog in the system, which means that large numbers of providers seeking to access testing via this route are not yet even entered onto the system, and there is no prioritisation for social care employers.

Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, said:

“The government’s promise to provide tests for all staff is exposed as pure words. Social care needs to be systematically prioritised in each and every testing system, in order for government to live up to its commitment.”

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