Care home director hits out about access to coronavirus testing for frontline workers
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 May 2020
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A Weston care home director has hit out about the access to coronavirus testing for front-line workers in town.
Director of Beaufort Care Home, Jonathan Boyack, said testing care workers and residents for coronavirus in Weston is an issue, and his staff have travelled to Taunton and Bristol Airport to get tested for Covid-19.
He says even though the home is clear of the disease, testing at Weston General Hospital for care workers ‘has not been advertised’ and feels nursing homes and their staff have been left unsupported during the outbreak.
Jonathan said: “There are several issues with testing. The Government advised last week all care homes could have testing kits for staff and residents which we have ordered. However, we are told kits can take up to two weeks to arrive, which is of no use.
“Staff and family members with or without symptoms can be tested at Bristol Airport and in Taunton, and the availability of testing discriminates against the poorest key workers without access to a car. There should be a readily-available testing site in Weston for key workers.”
The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said there is ‘quick and efficient’ coronavirus testing site for care home workers at Weston General Hospital, but Jonathan says Beaufort was not made aware of the facility until last week.
Jonathan added: “Unfortunately, testing at the hospital has not been advertised to care homes and again is limited, as a family member of a key worker may have symptoms, and, without diagnosis, may pass this onto another key worker.
“I think coronavirus testing has been made available months too late and nursing home owners throughout North Somerset have gone to great expense and effort to try to keep their homes safe. It would nice to feel we and our staff are supported.”
A spokesperson for the CCG said: “Our intention is to promote quick and efficient testing of care home workers with or without symptoms. There are several ways to book a test and care home workers in Weston are eligible for coronavirus testing at the mobile unit stationed at Weston Hospital.
“We hope this will be a suitable alternative to the location previously offered. Details about testing for care home workers in the region can be found at bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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