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Care home provider to support ongoing COVID-19 testing for staff

Care UK says it has contingency plans to support staff after scrapping of rule on weekly PCR tests and end of free testing
Picture shows a nurse opening a COVID-19 self-test kit

Care UK says it has contingency plans to support staff after scrapping of rule on weekly PCR tests and end of free testing

Since last month, care home nurses and other staff have been expected to take a lateral flow test before each shift, following the scrapping of rules requiring them to take a PCR test every week.

But with the government’s free supply of COVID-19 tests ending on 1 April, many care home nurses have been left wondering if they will have to pay for tests. Care UK ’s most senior nurse, Rachel Gilbert, told Nursing Standard the residential care provider has contingency plans in place to support testing

Care UK says it has contingency plans to support staff after scrapping of rule on weekly PCR tests and end of free testing

Picture shows a nurse opening a COVID-19 self-test kit
Picture: iStock

Since last month, care home nurses and other staff have been expected to take a lateral flow test before each shift, following the scrapping of rules requiring them to take a PCR test every week.

But with the government’s free supply of COVID-19 tests ending on 1 April, many care home nurses have been left wondering if they will have to pay for tests. Care UK’s most senior nurse, Rachel Gilbert, told Nursing Standard the residential care provider has contingency plans in place to support testing for staff.

Picture of Rachel Gilbert, Care UK’s director of care, quality and governance.
Rachel Gilbert

‘While testing is being reduced in line with government guidance, it will continue to play an important role,’ said Ms Gilbert, who is Care UK’s director of care, quality and governance.

‘However, it is only one of the infection prevention and control (IPC) tools we have been using. All of our colleagues are vaccinated, and we are continuing with stringent IPC measures – all of which provide the appropriate level of reassurance to colleagues, residents and relatives.

Symptomatic testing will remain available for all social care staff, DHSC says

‘We are yet to receive confirmation whether testing for social care workers will or will not be available, but we already have measures in place to support ongoing testing.’

The provider, which has 150 care homes across England, Wales and Scotland, said it understood that some staff, patients or families might be anxious about the changes, but wanted to assure them it would ‘remain vigilant’ against the virus.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said there will be limited ongoing free testing for a small number of at-risk groups. It has yet to confirm who will be included in these groups.

Symptomatic testing will remain available for all social care staff, a DHSC spokesperson confirmed. ‘We continue to review all our COVID-19 measures for adult social care in line with the latest scientific advice and will provide further details of any changes in due course.’

Bupa, Four Seasons, HC-One and Barchester Healthcare were contacted for comment.


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