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Testing of NHS and Social Care Staff

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 4:31 pm, 24th June 2020

The hon. Gentleman has talked about taking out large numbers of testing; as the Minister for Care, I have seen a huge demand from the social care sector for testing through those channels, so I would not take out other forms of testing. For example, testing through tests sent to people’s homes very much counts and should be considered as part of our testing programme.

We have put a rigorous focus on testing in care homes, too. We met our target of offering tests to all staff and all residents of care homes for over-65s and those with dementia in England by 6 June. We then announced that we were able to extend the testing programme to all adult care homes. Since the launch of whole care home testing, we have provided over a million test kits to more than 9,000 care homes, and we are now able to send out more than 50,000 test kits a day. We are also running a prevalence study to get a detailed picture of coronavirus infection in care homes. Phase 2 of that study has just gone live, meaning that 10,000 residents and staff across 100 care homes will have repeat swab and antibody tests.