Testing for care home visitors to begin next week - and could be here by Christmas

Stock image showing a person visiting a care home resident. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The department for health and social care has announced the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund, which was first introduced in May 2020, will be extended, with Norfolk being able to use an extra £10.5m worth of funding. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new testing scheme for people visiting loved ones in care homes is to begin next week - and could arrive in the region by Christmas.

Health secretary Matt Hancock. Picture: PA Wire

Health secretary Matt Hancock. Picture: PA Wire - Credit: Archant

From Monday, the government is launching a pilot scheme in around 20 homes that will allow residents to put one family member of friend each forward for regular testing for coronavirus.

This will allow that individual to make regular face-to-face visits to the homes by making use of either PCR home tests or the new 30 minute rapid lateral flow tests.

The scheme is to be piloted at homes across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon initially, but it is hoped it could be rolled out widely in time for Christmas.

It will mean that providing PPE is used, each care home resident will be able to have one named visitor - be it a family member or friend - see them indoors without the need for screens - while reducing risk to staff, other residents and visitors.

You may also want to watch:

Announcing the new measure, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know how heart-breaking restricting visits to care homes has been, not only for residents, many of whom will feel disoriented and confused by the situation, but also their loved ones who aren’t able to simply hug each other to support them in this difficult time.

“Thanks to the expanding testing capacity we have in place we can now begin to trial a new way to allow safer visits to take place and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Most Read

“I must stress this is only possible if the public takes the right actions now to bring the transmission rate under control while national restrictions are in place.” If the pilot proves successful, it will be rolled out nationwide in December, though this will be phased at it remains to be seem when Norfolk will be included.

Care minister Helen Whately added: “The pandemic has torn many lives apart but few have been affected more than people living in care homes and their families.

“As Christmas approaches, I want to bring an end to pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus