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PHE report conclusions for COVID discharge is “rewriting history”

The National Care Forum has dismissed the Public Health England (PHE) report into the links between hospital discharges and COVID outbreaks in care homes as “rewriting an element of history to suit a current narrative”.

The PHE report analysed testing carried out in hospitals and care homes of COVID symptomatic patients to assess any link between hospital discharge and COVID infections in care homes.

However, the NCF says that by limiting the testing only to small numbers of symptomatic patients over a short time period, the data presents only a partial picture of events. NCF chief executive Vic Rayner said: “In reality the low level of testing for symptomatic patients or residents, and the complete absence of testing for asymptomatic people can only mean that we do not, and probably will never know, the extent of the damage that the practice of discharge without testing delivered.

Last week Transport Secretary Grant Shapps appeared on BBC TV’s Question Time where he blamed movement of care home staff – rather than hospital discharge for COVID infections in care homes.

Rayner commended: “[For PHE] to take this partial data and use it to assert that the lack of testing of those leaving hospital and entering care homes was a relatively small factor in the ‘seeding’ of outbreaks within homes runs the risk of rewriting an element of history to suit a current narrative.”

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