Coronavirus: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 8th October 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase covid-19 testing capacity for (a) staff and (b) residents in care homes.

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

Protecting care home residents and staff is a top priority for the Government and this includes increasing access to testing.

We are continuing to prioritise care home testing, where we are issuing more than 100,000 tests a day to care homes across the country. Since the launch of whole care home testing, we have provided over nine million test kits to over 17,000 care homes in the United Kingdom.

8,500 specialist care homes have received orders for test kits since the start of the testing programme across the UK (5,913 in England) . Since they were eligible to apply for regular repeat testing on the 31 August, 4,576 specialist homes in England have applied for tests.

The Government has announced the addition of new Lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network, and work is ongoing on plans to expand the UK’s laboratory capacity even further over the coming months.

The recent £500 million investment will increase testing capacity and rollout new cutting-edge testing technology to deliver rapid tests. It will help to scale up testing capacity to 500,000 tests per day by the end October.

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