Weekly COVID-19 Tests for our Homecare workers

Our care workers looking after people in their own homes will be offered weekly coronavirus tests from Monday 23rd November, the government has announced.


Our care workers looking after people in their own homes will be offered weekly coronavirus tests from Monday 23rd November, the government has announced.

Registered CQC providers like Bluebird Care Rushcliffe & Melton will shortly start receiving weekly PCR tests to administer to Homecare staff, which will help identify more asymptomatic cases and protect Customers who are more vulnerable to the virus.

Regular testing will give our hard-working carers reassurance by identifying any asymptomatic transmission and protect those they care for.

The expansion of testing to homecare workers is the next phase in the roll-out of mass testing across the country, and has been made possible by the huge increase in testing capacity in recent weeks. Nearly 35 million tests have now been processed in the UK since the service began and last week the government announced 2 new ‘megalabs’, which will add a further 600,000 to daily UK testing capacity in early 2021.

Minister for Care Helen Whately said:

Homecare workers have been doing an incredible job throughout the pandemic, caring day in and day out and going the extra mile to keep people they care for safe from COVID. As our testing capacity continues to expand, I’m glad we’re able to take this next step and make regular testing available to homecare workers. Now, as well as having PPE, homecare workers will be able to take a weekly test to check they do not have coronavirus. We now have the largest testing capacity in Europe, so we’re using this to protect those who are at greater risk if they catch COVID.

Proactively testing asymptomatic individuals helps to identify those who unknowingly have the virus and enables those who test positive and their contacts to self-isolate. This is crucial to break the chains of transmission of the virus.

On Monday 23rd November, we were contacted by the Department of Health with regards to how we can register and order test kits. Moving forwards, we will be responsible for requesting and distributing tests to all of our employees for them to conduct on a weekly basis, testing ideally towards the end of the week (Thursday and Friday), when lab capacity is greater.

A month’s worth of test kits will be delivered to Bluebird Care Rushcliffe & Melton directly so we can distribute tests to our staff via the office based in Radcliffe on Trent.

Work is also currently being carried out to explore making the rapid 30-minute lateral flow tests, currently only conducted by dedicated trained personnel, available for self-administration at home or in the workplace. This would allow workers to quickly find out if they are COVID-19 positive and have to isolate.

Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding said:

NHS Test and Trace has worked tirelessly to increase capacity for testing, achieving its target of capacity for 500,000 tests by the end of October. This is testament to a huge amount of work up and down the country by unsung heroes in labs, distribution centres, test centres and manufacturing plants. I am delighted that this capacity means that we can now roll out regular, weekly testing to our domiciliary care staff. This has long been a priority for us and it will ensure greater protection to this vital, often unseen, workforce and the people they care for.

We are now eagerly awaiting the delivery of our first batch of testing kits and will begin the roll-out of weekly testing to our care workers as soon as possible.