Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks achieved a national change of policy yesterday, as the Government announced they will expand care home testing to all adult settings including those with residents under 65s and with disabilities.
The decision follows Laura Trott’s question to the Secretary of State for Health last week. She asked the Government to look into the issue following the challenges being faced in her own constituency by the Leonard Cheshire Care Home at Chipstead Lake, which is home to 24 residents with physical disabilities.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Laura raised the difficulty staff were experiencing in accessing COVID-19 testing kits, given that residents were typically under 65 years old and do not suffer with dementia. She highlighted how this meant that under the current guidance neither staff nor residents could not be tested unless symptomatic.
The Secretary of State agreed to look into the case urgently, and the Department yesterday expanded the care home testing portal so that all adult care home settings can now access tests.
Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley said:
“I was deeply concerned to hear about the challenges the Leonard Cheshire at Chipstead Lakes was facing in accessing testing kits. I welcome the extraordinary steps taken by Secretary of State to increase testing capacity, but I felt that Leonard Cheshire, and other care homes who support those with disabilities, had been inadvertently overlooked.
I am delighted the Secretary of State has acted so quickly to rectify the problem, and I thank him and his team for all they have done to implement the changes.
I hope this will provide much needed support to staff and residents, as well as the 6,000 similar care homes across the country, and I pay tribute to the staff who do such an incredible job every day.”
Hugh Fenn, Executive Director UK Services at Leonard Cheshire, said:
“The expansion of testing in the disability sector is a welcome, if overdue, development. It will help us further support the vulnerable people who live in our services as well as our staff who have been at the frontline of this pandemic. We are extremely grateful to Laura Trott for her intervention and continued support”.