John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prioritise the safe resumption of full care home visitation during the covid-19 outbreak.
Helen Whateley: We want to bring an end to the pain of separation and help care homes bring families and loved ones together. The launch of visitor testing is a crucial step to making that happen.
Following a successful trial in 20 care homes, we have started the phased rollout of new rapid tests to all care homes across England to support visiting. The first 385 care homes are now able to begin testing visitors and we aim to roll this out to all care homes by Christmas.
Testing is only one way of minimising the risk of visiting a care home. If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate PPE, and following other infection control measures, then it will be possible for family and friends to have more meaningful visits to care homes.