Martin Ford 16 December 2020

One in nine care workers not tested weekly

A government pledge to test all care home staff every seven days is not being met, according to a survey published today.

The trade union Unison found 11% of care workers looking after people aged over 65 and those with dementia had not been given regular swab checks.

Ministers previously pledged that staff would be tested every seven days.

Unison's claim is based on a survey of nearly 13,000 care staff, including those working in residential care, hospices and homecare.

One in ten (10%) also waited more than 72 hours for results, leading to some having to take unpaid leave or sick pay due to the delay.

In addition, 40% of staff had been unable to get a test within the previous four weeks.

Unison assistant general secretary, Christina McAnea, said: ‘Delays and lack of access to testing is putting workers, their families and the people who depend on them at risk.

‘The Government must get a grip on testing, honour its promises and ensure care staff have proper access to checks.'

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said further regular testing had been rolled out since the survey.

They added: ‘From the start of the pandemic we have been doing everything we can to keep care home staff protected including providing free priority testing and personal protective equipment.’

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