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Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall and Stowmarket care home company Care UK raises concerns over coronavirus testing delays




A care home company has raised concerns about delays in the delivery of coronavirus tests and the return of results.

Care UK has said ‘things have not always gone to plan’ on testing for Covid-19, although it has seen the programme ‘gain momentum’.

The company runs Davers Court and Glastonbury Court in Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall Lodge in Mildenhall and Cedrus House in Stowmarket.

Coronavirus
Coronavirus

In a letter seen by the Bury Free Press to a resident’s next of kin dated May 27, Andrew Knight, CEO of Care UK, said: “Despite the Government’s assertions that all care home residents and staff now have access to regular testing, this is sadly not the case across all of our homes.

“We are seeing significant regional variations to both the scale and efficiency of testing, with some homes still to receive promised tests and others waiting several weeks for results, rendering them out of date before they are received.”

He added that the testing programme had come ‘very late in the day’ and the company was lobbying for ‘more and better testing where needed’.

When asked about testing at Care UK’s homes in West Suffolk, a spokeswoman said Davers Court, Glastonbury Court and Mildenhall Lodge had completed one round of ‘all home’ testing.

Cedrus House had ‘some residents tested in April, but was only now gaining access to the whole home testing’ with results expected this week.

She said: “As with other areas of the country, things have not always gone to plan on the testing. While we have seen the programme gain more momentum, we are still seeing delays in both delivery of tests and return of results.

“However, these appear to have been initial teething problems and are improving week by week.”

The spokeswoman said two residents at Cedrus House died from confirmed Covid-19, and another resident at the Stowmarket home who passed away had displayed symptoms.

She added: “To the best of our knowledge Glastonbury Court, Davers Court and Mildenhall Lodge have all remained free of coronavirus infection.

“At Cedrus House, nine residents are getting better or are fully recovered after having Covid-19 symptoms.”

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We have the capacity to deliver up to 50,000 tests a day for whole care-home testing, and are currently prioritising care homes and areas with the greatest need.

“Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 213,000 workers in care settings and over 192,000 care home residents have been tested through DHSC and PHE testing routes.

“We have also launched an online portal for care homes to make booking tests for staff and residents even easier.

"And we are on track to deliver testing kits to more than 9,000 care homes who have residents aged over 65 and/or have dementia by June 6.”

According to the latest Office for National Statistics data on coronavirus deaths in West Suffolk since the outbreak began, there have been 16 in care homes.


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