Care home lifts lid on Covid testing ‘chaos’

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A care home has hit out over the “chaos” around Covid-19 testing for staff.

Bentley House Care Centre in Twenty One Oaks, Atherstone, says it is experiencing a nightmare with false positives leaving staff unavailable to work.

It has also hit out at delays in getting test results.

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Owner Charlotte Mckenna said: “We are very frustrated with the Covid staff testing.

“Our real concern is the time the tests are taking to come back, and now the validity of them. It’s just a circus to be honest.

“The Government likes to think that care homes are having weekly tests and this may well be.

“But when the results are taking so long to come back, if there is a positive, that person is still working whilst waiting, putting the vulnerable at risk.

“The delay in getting the results could have untold repercussions, especially for the homes that are not now using PPE and unfortunately, they do exist.

“False results will also cause staffing issues, especially if other homes are not using agency staff at all like ourselves.  

“We are of the opinion that through all of this we have been left to fend for ourselves, making our own decisions throughout, whether they be right or wrong.

“Going forward we will continue to do what we think is best because that has worked for us so far.”

Ms Mckenna added: “We have two nursing homes, one in Atherstone and one in Stratford upon Avon.

“In our Atherstone home, tests were collected on the Friday. Last Tuesday evening we had a whole batch of negatives but on Wednesday evening we got a random positive. 

“This person went to the Peel Hospital and had a re-test on Thursday and her result came back as in fact a negative on Saturday. Public Health advised her that it was odd that she was the only positive amongst 60 plus staff. 

“As you can imagine, thinking we have a positive in the home caused chaos – thank goodness we are continuing and have continued with full PPE.

“We then sent off another full set of staff tests and waited another 4, 5, 6 days for the results. Tests eventually came back all negative this week. It caused a lot of unnecessary worry for these people’s family and friends.

“We insisted they were re-tested for ours and their peace of mind, and because they were the only ones in each building which would be unusual but they and their families had to self isolate until the negative results came back. Families were tested too and they were all negative.”

Similarly in Stratford one person returned a positive four days after being tested but just days later returned a negative.

In response, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “There continues to be a significant demand for tests, including from those without symptoms, so we are expanding capacity rapidly as well as bringing in new technology to process tests faster and will continue to work around the clock to process results as soon as possible.

“Every day we make sure care homes across the country receive 100,000 test kits with the vast majority reporting no problems.

“Alongside this we are providing every care home with free PPE until the end of March, ring-fencing £1.1billion to prevent infections and making a further £3.7bn available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic – including in adult social care.”





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