Registered home care workers in England to be offered weekly coronavirus tests from Monday

Registered carers looking after people at home will be able to access weekly coronavirus tests from Monday, the Government has announced.

Carers working for providers registered with the Care Quality Commission will receive weekly tests to administer at home, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Providers will be able to book a month’s worth of PCR tests for their staff through an online portal from Monday.

It is hoped this roll-out will help protect vulnerable people receiving care at home and give workers “peace of mind” by picking up on any asymptomatic transmission.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said: “Homecare workers have been doing an incredible job throughout the pandemic, caring day in and day out and going the extra mile to keep people they care for safe from Covid.

“As our testing capacity continues to expand, I’m glad we’re able to take this next step and make regular testing available to homecare workers. Now, as well as having Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), homecare workers will be able to take a weekly test to check they don’t have coronavirus.

“We now have the largest testing capacity in Europe, so we’re using this to protect those who are at greater risk if they catch Covid.”

All registered homecare providers will be given details of how to apply for test kits once a month and will be responsible for ordering and distributing them.

The Government said work is under way to look at how to make the rapid 30-minute lateral flow test available for staff to use at home.

Testing will be expanded to other homecare workers, such as live-in carers and personal assistants, in a phased roll-out.

The DHSC said details on this will be provided in due course.

Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, said: “NHS Test and Trace has worked tirelessly to increase capacity for testing achieving its target of capacity for 500,000 tests by the end of October.

“This is testament to a huge amount of work up and down the country by unsung heroes in labs, distribution centres, test centres and manufacturing plants.

“I am delighted that this capacity means that we can now roll-out regular, weekly testing to our domiciliary care staff.

“This has long been a priority for us and it will ensure greater protection to this vital, often unseen workforce and the people they care for.”

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