THE owner of a Barry care home owner fears a failure to ensure that coronavirus test results are available quickly enough will lead to a deadly second surge of the disease.

According to Sanjiv Joshi, the managing director of the Caron Group which has 14 homes in South and mid-Wales including Springbank Care Home, in Barry, critical time is being lost because test results are still taking too long to turn round.

Experts say it is vital for test and trace procedures to be completed within 48 hours otherwise it is ineffective.

Mr Joshi, a leading member of Care Forum Wales which represents more than 450 industry providers, revealed test results were taking up to five days to come through.


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The Welsh Government has now launched a Test, Trace and Protect strategy, which involves testing people for coronavirus and then tracing the people they have been in contact with in a bid to stem the spread of the disease.

Ministers believe effective use of the strategy will be critical to protecting the lives of thousands of people across Wales in the weeks and months ahead.

The fact weekly testing for care home staff was now available was welcome news, but care providers say the test and trace system cannot possibly work because all too often tests results were not being returned within 24 or even 48 hours, leaving no time for tracers to do their job.

Mr Joshi said there were huge variations in testing returns across the group’s homes from 24 hours to five days and also highlighted other problems with the current system.

He said: “There needs to be proper consultation with care providers before these policies are put into practice because it can be very disruptive for the care system.

“The current policy from Public Health Wales is that a home has to be incident-free for 28 days before you can admit new clients as you are considered high-risk.

“The problem is you are recorded as an “open incident” even if you have simply asked for someone to be tested - it doesn’t mean you have a positive result.

“It does not differentiate between a precautionary test and a suspected case.

“At one of our homes, for example, we are recruiting new staff and we want them to be tested before they start work as a precaution.

“The minute we asked for these tests the home became an ‘open incident’ which is disruptive and counterproductive.

“We need to assess what is practical and find a solution that works and is effective.

“It is vital that the testing process helps prevent the spread and is not bureaucratic.

“If we don’t fix this, it will be disastrous if and when the second surge happens”.

CFW chairman, Mario Kreft said: “We launched our campaign to shield social care and save lives back in February and testing was one of the vital components of that campaign.

“It was vital for a number of reasons including the safe discharge of patients from hospitals into care homes, for staff so they could return to the front line and vital for residents in care homes so you could control the spread.

“It’s imperative that people in care homes – residents and staff – can be tested and the results delivered so that any outbreaks can be contained.

“We now need to learn the lessons of these past few months to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes, particularly if we are going to experience a second wave of covid-19 later in the year.

“That’s why Care Forum Wales has campaigned so vigorously from the outset for an effective testing regime to be implemented.”