The Welsh Conservatives have welcomed the u-turn by the Welsh Labour-led Government to start testing residents and staff within care homes where an outbreak of Covid19 is occurring and potentially in neighbouring care homes as well. The new additions to the testing regime in Wales will also see repeat testing the following week.
For weeks Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Care, Janet Finch-Saunders AM, has been calling for increased testing in Wales, especially for all residents in care homes.
Just two days ago Janet expressed her shock when the Welsh Government refused to test all staff and residents in care homes.
Commenting on the u-turn by the Welsh Government, Janet said:
“Just two days ago the First Minister said he saw no value in testing everyone in care homes. This u-turn by the Welsh Government is very much welcomed by not just residents and staff in care homes but by their families and loved ones. Testing can help to reduce the spread of this deadly and horrid virus that is having a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in society. It is a shame that the extra capacity in the Wales Covid19 testing programme couldn’t have been used sooner.
“Yesterday, the UK Government announced that they were carrying out more than one hundred-thousand tests per day. In Wales we have capacity to do just over two thousand tests per day but we’re doing half that. We urge the Welsh Government to continue their u-turn and expand testing to all care home residents and staff.”
Today (May 1), a new three-stage testing and rapid response package is being introduced to help protect care home residents and staff. This does not rely on testing alone:
- Making it easier to get a test done – The eight new mobile testing units, which will be available from May 3, and home testing kits, when they become available, will be focused towards care homes to ensure testing is easily available.
- Targeted testing on outbreak hot spots – We will target testing and deploy the mobile units to test all residents in care homes, in cases where an outbreak occurs (and potentially in neighbouring care homes) and repeat testing the following week.
- Testing will also be available in the largest care homes (those with more than 50 beds) which are at greater risk of experiencing an outbreak because of their size.
- Environmental and hygiene support – we will combine testing people with environmental support when hotspots are identified.
- Increased cleaning, providing hand sanitiser and increased infection control measures will accompany the testing regime. Updated guidance to support these environmental measures will be provided to the sector.