Care homes have become a major concern in the UK amid the pandemic, with 3,811 deaths since March 30 taking place in settings outside of hospitals. Care homes in the Glasgow area are being told that, for new admissions from the community, COVID-19 tests should take place after they have been admitted to the home.
The guidance has been issued by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC).
The Scottish government has drawn up guidelines to increase coronavirus testing, including for people entering residential care.
It says it is in compliance with official advice that a test can take place “before or on admission”, but it has provoked an angry response from care home providers.
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Scottish Care, the representative body for Scotland’s care homes, has said that the proposals are “wholly unacceptable.”
Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, told Sky News: “We are concerned to hear of any instances where new residents admitted to care homes have not been tested for COVID-19 before they are admitted.
“The care home sector and ministers have been clear that this should be happening, regardless of whether someone is showing symptoms or not.
“This testing is vital for individuals prior to arriving to the home to reduce the risk of virus transmission to care home staff and fellow residents.”
The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland show that, in the week between April 20 to 26, the numbers dying in care homes accounted for more than half of Scotland’s COVID-19 deaths.
The Scottish government has drawn up a new testing strategy in conjunction with Health Protection Scotland, making tests available to all hospitals patients over 70 and People admitted to care homes.
On the issue of testing people admitted to care homes from the community, NHSGGC said in a statement: “National guidance states that ‘admissions to care homes from the community should have at least one test performed before or on admission and be isolated for 14 days’.
“We are working with care homes and our health and social care partnerships to develop local information on the testing of new admissions to care homes.
“We are recommending that any testing of new residents should be undertaken in the care home for two main reasons: we do not wish to delay any emergency admission to a care home; and testing before admission cannot be reliably used to ensure that the person is free of infection when they are admitted to the care home.”