Concern for rural care homes after Welsh Government targets larger facilities for testing

Elderly farmer

A Conwy county councillor has warned that smaller, rural care homes will not be tested for the Coronavirus by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government confirmed last week that coronavirus testing will be extended to staff and residents at care homes of more than 50 beds, regardless of whether any residents have symptoms or not.

However, one Conwy councillor is concerned that this will leave the residents of many rural care homes untested.

Llanrwst Councillor Aaron Wynne, who is also Plaid Cymru’s Senedd candidate for Aberconwy, called for the policy to be extended to all care homes, not just the larger ones, both in the public and private sectors.

 

‘Postcode lottery’

“Testing in care homes where there are no symptoms of this virus must be universal,” Aaron Wynne said.

“It is not right to penalise the staff and residents of smaller, rural care homes. All staff and residents deserve to have the confidence that Covid-19 is not present and being transmitted before symptoms begin to show.

“We know from the World Health Organisation that coronavirus can have an incubation period of 14 days which means the virus can be well established in any care home before the first person with it begins to fall ill.

“This Labour government policy favours urban areas where large care homes are much more common than in the rural areas. It creates a postcode lottery that is unfair to smaller care home residents, their families and the staff.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said evidence showed there is a greater prevalence of coronavirus in larger care homes.

“We are now offering testing, regardless of symptoms or positive cases, to care homes with more than 50 beds,” they said.

“Eight mobile testing units are being made available across Wales to deliver a rapid testing response where needed.”

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Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

This whole issue of testing in care homes is so far behind the pace that it smacks of desperation. Most if not all care homes had adopted strict no visit rules by 13/14th March, thus eliminating risk from family visits etc. They were always vulnerable to staff as carriers but government in their wisdom were slow to reinforce adoption of good practice by testing and screening. I know of a home where there have been no deaths thus far but given Gething &Co’s insipid response I put that down to a big helping of luck on top of their own… Read more »

Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

Yes there are so many smaller care homes that are true homes giving the feeling of “cartref” and many close to the original village or rural town of their residents, they’re part of their communities – they face exactly the same Covid-19 challenge as care homes with over 50 residents. Although with a smaller number of people and fewer potential deaths their lives should be valued in exactly the same way – or is it only statistics that matter? Great to have a young and dedicated campaigner like Aaron Wynne standing up for their human rights.