Care Homes: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the failure to collect completed tests from a number of care homes, whether there has been a problem with the courier system for the collection of covid-19 tests from care homes; how many incidences of a failure to collect completed tests there have been in England; what steps he is taking to investigate the failure to collect completed tests from care homes; and what steps he is taking to ensure new tests are carried out at those homes.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

In the rare case where logistical issues have been identified, we have a dedicated team who are able to further investigate and respond.

Between 30 July and 5 August 2020, 43.3% of test results for satellite testing, which includes care home testing, were received within 48 hours of the test being taken. Care homes predominantly use satellite test kits as they need greater control and flexibility over when tests are collected. For example, tests may be conducted over multiple days with a collection scheduled a few days later.

Due to this, a lower proportion of test results will be available within 24 hours of the test being taken. We are encouraging more care homes to conduct testing over the weekend (Friday to Sunday) where possible to do so, to make better use of available lab capacity which should support faster turn-around times.

Turnaround times for tests conducted under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 are published weekly on as part of the Weekly NHS Test and Trace Bulletin.

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