Care Homes: West Midlands

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 29th September 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Conservative, Sutton Coldfield

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

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

Since the launch of whole care home testing, we have provided over 8 million test kits to over 17,000 care homes in the United Kingdom. We started rolling out regular retesting for residents and staff of care homes for over 65s and dementia from 6 July. This included weekly testing for staff, and every 28 days for residents. Each care home received enough test kits for a month. We are continuing to prioritise care home testing and we are issuing more than 100,000 tests a day to care homes across the country. We have met our 7 September target of providing testing kits to all care homes for older people and people with dementia who have registered for regular retesting kits. In addition, all other care homes have been able to place orders for test kits from 31 August. Since they were eligible to apply for regular repeat testing on 31 August, 4,576 specialist homes in England have applied for tests. Where an outbreak has been identified, we test all staff and residents as a priority, with all those who test negative being tested again four to seven days later.

We have continued to look for options that can reduce delays, such as encouraging care homes to carry out testing throughout the whole week, especially on weekends where this is possible. This will enable us to increase the amount of testing we can do and make full use of the available lab capacity.

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