Portsmouth care home staff get no Covid-19 test 'in 30% of cases'

CARE home staff are not receiving results from Covid-19 testing in around a third of cases, Portsmouth’s council leader has said in a letter to the prime minister.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 5:50 pm

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it was an ‘impossible situation for people to run care homes safely’ without timely and efficient results.

It comes as care homes told The News testing was so slow they only got results when it was nearly time to retest staff each week.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I have been told today that 30 per cent of Covid-19 tests for care home staff in Portsmouth City Council care homes are not having a result sent back.

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The coronavirus testing site Tipner was moved overnight

‘I was shocked by this, but was told that this situation is improving.

‘It is an impossible situation for people to run care homes safely and efficiently if they do not get the results of Covid-19 tests sent back accurately and in a timely way.

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Council left in the dark after Tipner coronavirus testing site removed overnight...

‘A 30 per cent failure rate in sending back test results is just not good enough.’

He said he was ‘extremely worried’ about the situation and implored Mr Johnson to ensure Test and Trace was working well enough to stop unknowingly contagious staff passing on the infection.

He added: ‘If staff have to wait for test results that do not arrive, and cannot work until they do, the number of people who are available to work in care homes will be put under great stress.

‘This could lead to a disaster.’

It comes after The News revealed 25 patients who tested positive for Covid-19 were discharged from Queen Alexandra Hospital into care homes at the start of the pandemic. Hundreds more were released into the community with no record of testing.

The hospital was following government guidance that changed on April 16 to then require testing.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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