Fear is rising within care and nursing homes in the UK, as health inspectors have been found visiting homes without being tested.
Moving between care homes which have high levels of infection – including Coronavirus – health inspectors haven’t been tested for the deadly virus, raising fears within many they are putting more and more people at risk.
Inspections within infected homes
A recent leak to The Guardian newspaper, has found all care home inspections that have been carried out in the north of England, have been within infected homes.
In one care facility, all but 3-residents and half the staff had tested positive for COVID-19.
Inspectors have been spending time, quite rightly, checking infection control procedures and care standards in as many as 600 care homes – many of which have been battling against Coronavirus outbreaks.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is yet to provide testing to the inspectors. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said: “We expect to begin COVID-19 tests on our health inspectors within the coming weeks.”
Care home deaths on the rise
Despite being in another national lockdown, as many as 398-people were reported to have died from COVID-19 in the week of 20 November. This is up from 138-people in the previous month.
While the death toll is lower in comparison to the initial peak of the pandemic, back in March, we’re still seeing a significantly high number.
Leaked memos to The Guardian show real anxiety surrounding residents and care teams, in regards to contracting the disease – and potentially passing it on.
Some health inspectors are so worried fearful in spreading the disease, they are paying for private testing.
The CQC reported in October, 6-inspectors had tested positive.
One inspector, who requested anonymity, told The Guardian: “People using services are at great risk during this time as inspectors are being sent out to services with a high number of Covid cases. This is sometimes a few times a week, without knowing if they are positive or negative. I think it is dangerous to the inspectors and the homes we are visiting.”
Should health inspectors have routine testing?
The Department of Health and Social Care have previously argued health inspectors don’t need routine testing as their job doesn’t require them to be in close contact with residents. However, they must follow measures including social distancing, the use of PPE and regular hand-washing or use of hand sanitiser.
As fears continue to rise, the CQC have pushed for testing. Testing has been approved, and will begin this month.
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