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Lib Dems call for coronavirus testing for social care staff

March 16, 2020 10:15 PM

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP has called for all social care workers to be tested for coronavirus, alongside NHS staff, and has asked the Health Secretary for clarity on the issue of testing for the virus.

After raising the question of coronavirus testing in the House of Commons, Munira Wilson said: Munira Wilson

"Some of the most vulnerable in our society live in care homes. Shortages in the care workforce are already a problem. That's why staff at care homes must be supported to the same level as staff in the NHS.

"It is essential that front-line NHS staff are tested for coronavirus. It is also critical that front-line social care workers are tested. That is why I raised this issue with the Secretary of State for Health in the House of Commons today.

"At present, the Secretary of State is not providing sufficient detail about how this will be achieved and the timeframe for this. We need urgent answers.

"Ensuring safe staffing levels is at the heart of patient safety in our NHS and in residential care homes. Getting staff back to work as soon as possible will be key in maintaining safe staffing levels."

Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal DEmocrat Group at Kent County Council added:

"We are already seeing early signs of the extra strain on our care sector caused by the coronavirus. The situation is likely to get much worse. Care workers look after some of the most vulnerable people in Kent. It is therefore absolutely crucial that we maintain the health of care staff working in residential homes or supporting people in their own homes. They must be tested regularly."

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Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday 16 March, Munira Wilson said:

"Would the Secretary of State clarify some details in reference to the answer he just gave to the Hon Member for Tooting on the testing of our front-line healthcare workers, and indeed just as importantly, our front-line social care workers?

"Our services are stretched to the max already. We cannot afford to have those who do not need to self-isolate self-isolating once, potentially multiple times, if they do not know whether they have had the virus?"

The Secretary of State for Health responded:

"I entirely understand this point and I want to get testing to everyone who needs it as soon as I possibly can."