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Matt Hancock says Government has hit target to offer coronavirus test kits to every care home

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. (PA)

2 min read

Labour has accused the Government of being “too slow to act” as Matt Hancock said coronavirus tests had now been “delivered” to every care home serving the over-65s.

The Health Secretary said the Government had "now managed successfully to offer tests to every care home that is eligible", after setting a target to test everyone in an over-65 setting by Saturday.

Mr Hancock said last month: “We will test every resident and every member of staff in our elderly care homes in England between now and early June.”

And the Government's lockdown ‘roadmap’ fixed Saturday as the target: “By 6 June, every care home for the over 65s will have been offered testing for residents and staff.”

The Department of Health announced this weekend that the target to “offer tests kits to every care home for over-65s by June 6” had now been met, with kits delivered to nearly 9,000 homes for the over-65s and those with dementia.

And it said all care homes who need tests will have received them regardless of symptoms.

Mr Hancock said: “We have now managed successfully to offer tests to every care home that is eligible, both for staff testing and for residents to be tested.

“What that means is that for about three quarters of a million people living and working in nearly 9000 eligible care homes, the tests have been delivered.”

The Department fo Health said tests results for residents would now be communicated to care home managers.

But shadow care minister Liz Kendall accused the Government of shifting the goalposts.

“Last month the Health Secretary promised that by 6 June, all residents and staff in care homes for the over 65s would be tested,” she said.

“Today he said that care homes would only have tests ‘delivered’.”

“This isn’t good enough and the Government has been too slow to act.”

The Labour frontbencher added: “Care home residents and staff need to be regularly tested if we are are going to get to grips with this virus. And we swiftly need to move to regularly testing family members too, so they can safely visit their loved ones.
“Ministers should now implement a comprehensive strategy for regularly testing all care homes - including for the under 65s- and give social care services the priority and resources they deserve.”

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