Manchester news Care home bosses waiting over a week for coronavirus test results Manchester united news
MetiNews.Com - "I've got staff who are carrying on working while they wait for results because they have no symptoms and they could have the virus and we wouldn't know until it's too late."
Breaking News ! Care homes are waiting up to eight days for the results of Covid tests - putting residents and staff at greater risk of exposure as infection rates continue to rise across Greater Manchester. The Manchester Evening News has spoken to care home bosses who say the major delays - nearly trebling the Government target of 'up to 72 hours' - are causing them stress and anxiety as they brace themselves for a potential second wave. It comes amid regionwide problems with testing, with people being denied swabs via the national portal despite some of Greater Manchester’s boroughs recording the highest rates in the country. That includes in Bolton, where rates are now up to 200 cases per 100,000 and the council yesterday warned people were not able to access the supposed test capacity government had promised. The Manchester Evening News asked the Department for Health and Social Care why there are delays in care home results - but their response, at the end of this article, did not answer this question. They did say they were expanding laboratory capacity. The delays have sparked calls in the industry for care home workers to be treated with the same urgency as health workers when it comes to testing. Holli Taylor, manager at Bickham House in Bowdon Among those pressing for answers is Holli Taylor, manager at Bickham House in Bowdon which is home to 23 residents. She has waited a week for the latest set of both monthly resident and weekly staff results. She said: "Testing is a nightmare. "I've got staff who are carrying on working while they wait for results because they have no symptoms and they could have the virus and we wouldn't know until it's too late. "We do all our testing on a Tuesday and this week we got some results on Thursday, some at the weekend and the rest on Monday - the day before we were due to test again." One of the results came back positive, but a re-test proved it to be a false positive. She added: "It's causing a lot of anxiety. I'm diabetic, I get worried because I'm in the vulnerable section. The residents come first and they are at risk." Read More Related Articles 'Zoom chats aren't suitable for mum... she tries to touch us through the screen': The forgotten care home residents living with dementia, starved of family contact Read More Related Articles The 172 baffling symptoms long-haul coronavirus sufferers are reporting - including bed wetting and hair loss Holli says there is already growing concern among her colleagues of the rising rates of infection - and the testing crisis is fuelling that fire. She added: "There is evidence in Trafford that it's getting into care homes again. I believe our testing should be in the same category as the NHS. It's a two-way street - our residents are going into hospital and residents come here from hospital so we should have the same priority as the NHS." Matthew Callaghan, director of Bowfell House care home in Urmston, would like to see care home testing moved to Pillar One, usually reserved for the NHS Matthew Callaghan, director of Bowfell House care home in Urmston, which had an outbreak during the first wave, would also like to see residential testing moved to Pillar One, reserved for health workers and seriously ill patients and carried out in Public Health England labs - as opposed to its current Pillar Two status, done by public sector labs for the wider population. However, this might not solve the problem as Pillar One testing is reported to be plagued by problems around procuring reagent, while commercial labs are said to have staffing shortages. Whatever the cause, care homes like Bowfell House, which test staff weekly and residents monthly, need reassurances that these delays will not continue into the winter. Matthew says his latest resident tests took up to five days to come in, while staff results took eight days to be returned. Read More Related Articles Snubbed again and treated like coronavirus 'ghosts' - the exhausted frontline carers who won't be getting a pay rise Read More Related Articles Families see care homes as a 'death sentence' for the elderly during the pandemic - why this boss fears going under amid a 'climate of fear' He told the Manchester Evening News : "Testing is becoming a problem. Results have been taking up to eight days to come back as opposed to 72 hours. "I understand why the NHS is prioritised and the queue has to be there but until they move us to pillar one and put us on the NHS list we are going to have to wait with everybody else." He added: "It's frustrating because let's imagine those are positive cases. Testing allows us to identify people who are positive and remove them from the workplace so that they are not a risk to our residents. "If it takes eight days it means staff could have worked a huge number of shifts while positive. We need to get results quickly so we can take action. "It's disappointing. We communicate with our families regularly and continue to do everything we can to keep residents and safe but we need the system to work.
." He currently has two staff off work - one whose child was sent home from school with symptoms and now has to self-isolate, and another whose mother works in a school where there's been close contact with a confirmed case. Although the home has an agency on the books whose staff they test along with their own, Matthew can forsee the staff issue growing as the winter sets in. He added: "It would be great if care home testing became pillar one so we got results more quickly but we also want everybody else's tests to be turned round more quickly because there is a genuine risk that care homes will not be able to operate safely because of the lack of staff required to self isolate because of delays in getting testing."
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Matthew says he feels the home and staff are in a 'better place' than they were in March and April when the pandemic first hit the sector. But he added: "You are never ready for situation that makes people so ill and has the potential to take life. "We are an adult social care facility not a health care facility - and we felt like a health care facility last time. "We hope this time affected residents get better acute care which was basically denied to them in the first round because of national need to keep hospitals clear for younger people. "I hope the Government has no imposed admissions of positive cases to care homes. Last time we were highly encouraged to do our duty for the common good to accept people in order that acute beds were maintained for younger people."
Martyn Davies of Urmston Manor Care Home
(Image: STEVE ALLEN)
Martyn Davies, manager at Urmston Manor, has waited seven days for results on three occasions in recent months. However, he has stopped short of calling for care homes to be given the same status as the NHS - instead simply asking that the Government hold true to their commitment of giving them the same level of service as the general public. He said: "All we are asking is for care homes to get treated the same as the general public. If you ordered a test to your house you could expect the results in 72 hours. "We shouldn't have to wait for seven days.
"It's just that fear of the unknown constantly for staff. When you are working in a social care setting people will get poorly for numerous reasons and without your test results back in a timely manner you are always questioning whether it's covid. That causes a lot of stress on the staff, because some have people at home who need to shield or who are clinically vulnerable. "You are just living on a knife edge all the time." He added: "We need that same level of courtesy you would get in your own home - because this is the residents' own home." What the Department for Health and Social Care say: "From the start of the pandemic we have been doing everything we can to ensure care home residents and staff are protected, including testing all residents and staff, providing 200 million items of PPE, ring-fencing £600m to prevent infections in care homes and making a further £3.7bn available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic -including in adult social care. "We are providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 200,000 a day on average over the last week – but there has been significant demand. We are expanding capacity rapidly as well as bringing in new technology to process tests faster and will continue to work around the clock process results as soon as possible." In background notes, they added: - Care home testing is prioritised with more than 100,000 tests a day issued to care homes. The September 7 target of providing testing kits to all care homes for older people and people with dementia has been met. - All adult care homes are now able to register for test kits to complete regular retesting. - As part of the drive to towards the target of a 500,000-a-day testing UK capacity by the end of October, the Government has announced the addition of new Lighthouse laboratories in Newport and Charnwood to the national lab network, and work is ongoing on plans to expand the UK’s laboratory capacity even further over the coming months. - The recent £500m investment will increase testing capacity and rollout new cutting-edge testing technology to deliver rapid tests. It will help to scale up testing capacity to 500,000 tests per day by the end October. On visitation and 'second wave' concerns, they said in background: - We know limiting visits in care homes has been very difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones. The priority is to prevent infections - Local Directors of Public Health are responsible for the policy on care home visits in their areas and should give a regular professional assessment of whether visiting is likely to be appropriate within the local authority, taking into account the wider risks. - As set out in the Adult Social Care Action Plan, all individuals are required to be tested prior to discharge from hospital to a care home.Test results should be included in discharge documentation and they will need to be isolated for 14 days in line with the infection control measures. If a care home provider does not feel they can provide the appropriate isolation for those coming out of hospital, the individual's local authority should secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the required isolation period.
Source = MetiNews.Com