Since the beginning of this crisis it’s been clear to me that care homes are particularly vulnerable to the virus and should have been a priority for those in Government. I desperately tried to raise this with ministers and raised the issue with the Prime Minister himself.
The calls of myself and others went unheeded and far too many of our care home residents and staff lost their lives. Last month on the 3rd July the Government announced that they were finally going to introduce regular testing in every care home for staff and residents. This new testing regime was supposed to begin straight away.
It sounded like the Government were finally going to get to grips with the extra need for testing in care homes due to the vulnerability of residents and the fact that many staff work across multiple homes. However, it is now August and almost no care homes in the city have received the promised tests.
It is deeply disappointing that the Department of Health and Social Care have now sent the following message out:
“While we are taking all possible steps to increase our supply this does means that we have to revise the previously advised timelines for rolling out regular testing in care homes as follows:
- We will now reach all care homes for older people and people with dementia by the 7 September 2020.
- If you have already started regular testing, there may be a wait for your second month’s order to be fulfilled until we have reached all care homes for older people and people with dementia.
- All other adult care homes will be able to start to place orders for test kits from the 31 August 2020.”
I am horrified that the Government have allowed this delay to occur for care homes. It is unacceptable that they can trumpet the supposed huge testing capacity they have at the same time as delaying tests to where they are needed most. I have written to the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce to request an urgent explanation for how this has happened.
I will carry on doing everything I can to fight for our care homes in the city and hold the Government to account on their promises for the sector.