The UK’s largest independent provider of social care no longer has access to regular COVID-19 testing for staff and residents, its chief executive has said.
Andrew Knight, Chief Executive of Care UK, said an issue with a supplier used by the Government is to blame.
In a letter leaked to Sky News, Knight said there will be a minimum of five weeks before the firm is able to access another round of testing for most of its homes in England.
The letter said: “We have been notified by the Department of Health and Social Care [DHSC] that due to an issue with a particular test from one supplier, we will no longer have access to weekly testing for colleagues or monthly testing for residents.”
The letter continues: “Communication from the government on this matter has been sorely lacking.
“I am sure many of you will find this situation as disappointing as I do, especially given the positive messages the government is still issuing about the scale of the testing programme it is supposedly offering.”
Sky News said the letter was leaked to it by a concerned relative who described the government’s treatment of care homes as “scandalous”.
The broadcaster said that Care UK has confirmed that the letter is genuine.
The five week delay relates to asymptomatic testing of staff and residents.
Officials pointed out that regular tests for those with COVID-19 symptoms were still available with no wait.
The Department of Health and Social Care – which said at the start of July that care home staff would be given coronavirus tests every week and residents on a monthly basis – has been approached for comment.