An initial survey by the National Care Forum has revealed that of those who work in residential care settings, only 25% of eligible care home staff have been tested to date – those who have been identified as needing testing.
The situation is significantly worse for care providers supporting people in their own homes where only 6.8% of home care staff who have been identified as needing testing have actually had one.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, says:
“We welcomed the promise of making tests available to care staff. We are in unprecedented times and need a rapid response to making these tests available and accessible. The current approach needs to be ramped up quickly in order to help care providers support their staff to return to work quickly if they are found to not have COVID-19.
“What is clear from the data is that access to testing centres is a key issue. Our data has revealed that social care staff are travelling on average 62 miles on a round trip to test centres, many of them located miles away from their home or place of work, and which can only be reached by a vehicle.
“A large proportion of care staff rely on public transport to get about. More needs to be done and practical arrangements made to enable care workers to have access to testing centres so that they can have the confidence and reassurance they need in supporting the most vulnerable in our country.”