For Immediate Release

Following the government’s promise last week that testing would be available to everyone who needs one in social care settings, initial data collected by the National Care Forum, the leading representative body for the not-for-profit adult social care sector, has revealed that of those who work in residential care settings, only 25% of eligible care home staff have been tested to date – those who have been identified as needing testing.

The situation is significantly worse for care providers supporting people in their own homes where only 6.8% of home care staff who have been identified as needing testing have actually had one.

Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum, says:

“We welcomed the promise of making tests available to care staff. We are in unprecedented times and need a rapid response to making these tests available and accessible. The current approach needs to be ramped up quickly in order to help care providers support their staff to return to work quickly if they are found to not have COVID-19.

What is clear from the data is that access to testing centres is a key issue. Our data has revealed that social care staff are travelling on average 62 miles on a round trip to test centres, many of them located miles away from their home or place of work, and which can only be reached by a vehicle.

“A large proportion of care staff rely on public transport to get about. More needs to be done and practical arrangements made to enable care workers to have access to testing centres so that they can have the confidence and reassurance they need in supporting the most vulnerable in our country.”

ENDS

 

Editor’s Notes:

  • The National Care Forum (NCF) brings together 115 of the UK’s leading social care charities. Collectively, these charities deliver more than £1.9 billion of social care support to more than 135,000 people in 6,500 settings. The NCF membership body collectively employs more than 85,000 colleagues.
  • This data reflects contributions from 21 NCF member organisations, representing 14,867 staff employed in residential care settings and 926 staff employed in home care settings.
  • Of 14,867 staff employed in residential care settings amongst NCF members surveyed, 632 (4.3% of all residential staff) had been identified as needing testing. Actual residential care workers tested was 164 (25.9% of those identified as needing a test). 468 care workers were still waiting for a test (74.1% of those identified as needing a test).
  • Six of the 21 providers surveyed ran home care services. Of 926 staff employed in these home care services 281 were identified as staff needing tests. Of those only 19 (6.8%) had been tested, with 262 home care staff still waiting to be tested.
  • The average one-way commute recorded was 31 miles. This reflects a range of between 5 miles and 60 miles from the testing centre.
  • More information is available on the National Care Forum at nationalcareforum.org.uk. @NCFCareForum @vicrayner @NCF_Liz
  • For enquiries, please contact Edna Petzen ([email protected]).