- Registered carers looking after people in their own homes will be able to access weekly coronavirus tests
- Care providers will be able to book tests for their staff online from Monday (23 November)
- The roll-out marks the next stage in the government’s expansion of mass testing
Those working for CQC-registered providers will receive weekly PCR tests to administer at home, which will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect care users who are more vulnerable to the virus.
Regular testing will give workers peace of mind by picking up on any asymptomatic transmission and protect those they care for.
The expansion of testing to homecare workers is the next phase in the roll-out of mass testing across the country, and has been made possible by the huge increase in testing capacity in recent weeks. Nearly 35 million tests have now been processed in the UK since the service began and this week the government announced 2 new ‘megalabs’, which will add a further 600,000 to daily UK testing capacity in early 2021.
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 PPE, homecare workers will be able to take a weekly test to check they do not 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.
Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals helps to identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enables those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate. This is crucial to break the chains of transmission of the virus.
All registered homecare agencies will be contacted with details of how to apply for test kits for their carers next week. Homecare agencies will be responsible for ordering and distributing tests to all homecare workers for them to conduct at home on a weekly basis, testing on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
This approach will maximise capacity available in our laboratories.
We will be expanding testing further to all other homecare workers, including live-in carers and personal assistants in a phased roll-out. We will provide