Downing Street acknowledges problems with care home coronavirus testing

Officials have blamed rising demand and “unexpected delays” for problems in providing coronavirus testing for care home staff and residents.

Downing Street insisted testing in care homes had not stopped but acknowledged that progress had not be as quick as had been hoped.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested new tests, which can provide results in 90 minutes, could increase capacity.

The problems in care homes have been blamed on issues identified in Randox tests in mid-June.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Care home testing has not stopped.

“Any care home resident or member of staff with symptoms can immediately access a free test and we are continuing to roll out asymptomatic regular testing, for staff and residents, to care homes.

Daily coronavirus tests in the UK
Daily coronavirus tests in the UK

“However, due to rising demand across testing and some unexpected delays such as the pause on the use of Randox kit, we’ve not been able to reach all care homes as quickly as we’d hoped.”

Mr Hancock suggested the new LamPORE swab tests, which will be available from next week across adult care settings and laboratories, could help address some of the problems.

“These new tests today will help us expand testing capacity,” he said.

“We’ve known throughout this crisis there’s been a huge challenge in expanding the testing capacity and I’ve really driven that as hard as possible.

“And as I’ve set out to Parliament there have been challenges all the way through.

“But what this new testing capacity will allow us to do is expand the areas where we can test and make sure, crucially, we can get that turnaround faster, so people can get the results as soon as possible.”