Coronavirus: Some hospital patients discharged to Peterborough care homes not tested for Covid-19, report states

Some hospital patients discharged to Peterborough care homes have not been tested for Covid-19, according to a city council report.

The report published in late September revealed that the percentage of hospital patients tested before being discharged to city care homes has increased from 73 per cent to 90 per cent.

This is despite the Government telling hospital trusts in April that they would need to test all patients prior to being discharged and admitted into a care home.

Peterborough City Council said it was “confident everyone going into a care home from hospital is swabbed,” while the trust which runs Peterborough City Hospital said it “routinely tests every patient that requires any form of discharge support”.

Coronavirus test (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

The figures put in a report to the council’s Adults and Communities Scrutiny Committee also revealed that:

. 90 per cent of care homes have the ability to isolate residents

. 88 per cent have undertaken action to restrict staff movement between care homes

. 71 per cent are paying staff full wages while isolating following a positive test

. 76 per cent have access to Covid-19 test kits for all residents and asymptomatic staff

. 98 per cent have access to sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet their needs

. 89 per have access to medical equipment needed for Covid-19.

The figures were all an improvement on recent months.

Carol Smit, a board director at the National Care Association, which represents the independent care sector, said that all care homes in Peterborough are following Government and Care Quality Commission guidelines with regards to testing, infection control and providing personal protecting equipment (PPE).

She told the Peterborough Telegraph: “From a private provider perspective we haven’t had problems because we are very strict and have complied with the requirements which are very clear.

“We’re satisfied in Peterborough that our homes are not accepting people from hospital without a swab and a negative result. Peterborough hospital has to confirm to us that clients are negative.

“If the test was done two weeks before discharge we want an update test within the past 48 hours. We are not accepting two-week-old test results.

“From our perspective we have been well supported by the local authority and the Care Quality Commission.”

Ms Smit added that some care homes spent more than £25,000 on PPE and received no money from the Government, although PPE is now being supplied for free.

A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: “We’re working with all care home providers on what is a complex situation and challenging time.

“The data shows an improving picture in terms of the level of compliance and care homes are rising to this challenge, however, we know there is still work to do and we’re providing support to all our providers.

“We have followed up with all care homes about hospital swabbing and we are confident everyone going into a care home from hospital is swabbed. We know all trusts swab prior to discharge, all providers isolate new admissions for 14 days, they all receive infection control training and funding to support them and all care homes have access to PPE which is now free from the national portal.”

Stacie Coburn, deputy chief operating officer at the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford and Rutland hospitals, said: “Since the government guidance came out in April we have tested all patients requiring discharge support. 

“The national guidance specifies that patients do not need to wait for swab test results in hospital assuming that they can be appropriately isolated for 14 days after receiving their swab results.

“North West Anglia Foundation Trust routinely tests every patient that requires any form of discharge support. We have found that the vast majority of care homes will only accept patients if their results are negative and in this instance the patient remains in hospital until they receive a negative swab or a suitable alternative discharge location can be found.

“This guidance only apples to inpatients when they have spent over 24 hours in hospital on a ward. It does not apply to patients attending the Emergency Department or an outpatient setting which may explain why some patients are returning to care homes without a confirmed swab result.”