A new survey by the Royal College of Nursing has revealed that just 16 completed tests for COVID-19 were conducted on care home staff in Wales last week, according to the Welsh Government’s own figures.
More than half of RCN members working in care homes in Wales reported they had requested testing but only 16% of them have been offered a test so far.
The UK-wide survey reveals a disparity between the access to testing of COVID-19 for those working in the NHS compared to staff working in the social care sector and those employed by nursing agencies.
Helen Whyley, Director of the Royal College of Nursing Wales, said: “We have raised this issue with the Health Minister and First Minister in Wales and these numbers are not even close to being good enough. I’m sure our decision-makers would agree that our colleagues in the care home sector are not second-class citizens and deserve much better.
“I want the Welsh Government to assure me that testing is widely available for all our members in the health and social care sector. I want to see an immediate increase in the uptake of testing of care home staff and I expect the testing numbers to be much higher next week.”
The Welsh Government revealed plans to extend testing for Covid-19 in care homes on Friday.
The Welsh NHS was previously only providing testing to residents and staff who had coronavirus symptoms but from Sunday eight new mobile testing units were made available and testing will be extended to residents and staff within care homes where an outbreak of coronavirus is occurring.
Testing will also be available in the largest care homes (those with more than 50 beds) which are at greater risk of experiencing an outbreak due to their size.