A care home operator has directly contacted HealthInvestor to say they have not received a single Covid-19 testing kit, despite government assurances.
In a letter to the publication, Jeanne Davies, managing director of L&M Healthcare has implored the government “to find out where the tests are that they keep promising.”
She told HealthInvestor: “We’re told on BBC News by Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer that testing is happening now [in care homes], well it isn’t.”
Davies also detailed the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to the care home chain which operates five care homes in the North West.
She said: “To date, we have only received 300 masks per home and when I called the supplies team I was told this is all we were to expect, we would need to buy more if we needed them.”
She added: “Our homes range from 72 to 96 beds, 300 masks will not last very long. Why is the social care sector not being prioritised similar to the NHS? Why are the social care carers expected to work unprotected? It’s absolutely shocking and appalling that the government isn’t holding the social care sector in higher regard.”
Davies questioned: “Are we being penalised because the majority of social care is delivered by private companies?”
She concluded: “We are caring for the most vulnerable sector of our society, yet we feel like second-hand citizens, no one really cares other than those of us caring for our elderly.”
Davies' letter to HealthInvestor comes amid concern from Unison that care workers in the UK are at “breaking point” because of the lack of PPE available to them during the Covid-19 outbreak.
In some cases, the union found care workers are being given just plastic aprons and gloves to protect against Covid-19 which has triggered widespread anxiety among staff that they may spread the virus among their own families and the people they care for.
The union has also received reports of some employees being asked to work even if they have underlying health issues, and to bring their children in if they cannot get childcare. In one case, a care home worker was told he and colleagues would have to nurse residents who become sick, despite not being issued with proper PPE.
However, according to the HSJ, adult social care services are to receive millions of PPE products following a national audit of PPE.
Yesterday, the publication said the government has planned to deliver more than 30 million items to local resilience forums in the coming days, for distribution among social care and other front-line services.