To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of his policy to end free access to lateral flow tests for visiting people in care homes on (a) the distributional impact of the costs of such tests for those visiting loved ones and (b) the rates of covid-19 (i) infection, (ii) illness and (iii) death among care home residents; and whether the Government will consider revising this policy.
We keep the testing policies under review. Current data shows that rates of infection, illness and death among care home residents continue to decline. However, symptomatic testing continues to be available for those in social care settings. While the guidance no longer requires most visitors to test before entering care settings in England, for those who wish to do so a range of tests are available from providers such as high street pharmacies at various price points. For those residents who require support with personal care, these visitors should test in line with the Government’s guidance for care staff using free lateral flow device tests provided by the care setting.