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Covid fears sparked for care home residents following new hospital discharge guidance

by Lamiat Sabin
Parliamentary Reporter

A PLAN to allow some hospital patients who had previously tested positive for Covid-19 to be discharged into care homes without a recent test was said today to have “potentially tragic consequences.”

New Department of Health and Social (DHSC) guidance states that some hospital patients, who had tested positive within 90 days and have no symptoms or exposure to the virus, can be discharged into care homes after a 14-day isolation period.

They can also be discharged into any care home without having to first enter and isolate in a “designated setting,” sites set up and approved for the safe discharge of Covid-positive patients.

But the guidance sparked concern over vulnerable residents following the thousands of care home deaths last year.

During the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in England, the death toll within care homes accounted for 23.3 per cent of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 deaths, according to Imperial College London.

Labour shadow health secretary  said: “This is history repeating itself with potentially tragic conseuences yet again. 

“Having failed to protect care homes in the first wave, it appears ministers simply have not learnt the lessons. 

“We urge ministers to review this guidance and ensure that no-one is discharged into a care home without a Covid test, to protect lives.” 

GMB care lead Kelly Andrews told the Morning Star that the new decision would put “even more pressure on the struggling social care sector.”

“Care homes managers are desperate to keep their residents and staff Covid-safe so that they can protect the home and remain open,” she said.

“Testing gives people the security, this government is again penny-pinching from the most vulnerable.”

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