The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) is calling for full parity in the government’s social care COVID-19 testing programme after it announced the roll out of ‘whole care home testing’.
The Department of Health and Social Care announced on Friday that care homes catering for adults with learning disabilities or mental health needs, physical disabilities, acquired brain injuries and other conditions will also be able to access COVID-19 testing.
VODG said that while it welcomes this announcement, it is concerned that government is continuing to overlook other parts of the sector, including people who live in their own homes and supported living.
Commenting on the announcement Dr Rhidian Hughes, VODG chief executive, said: “We are pleased that the Department of Health and Social Care will open up testing to everyone living in care homes, regardless of age or condition. But people who use other care services, such as care at home and supported living, have an equal right to be tested too.
“We have serious concerns about the lack of parity in government’s approach to testing. Government must protect all citizens, and we are concerned that its current programme continues to overlook some types of support for disabled people and the staff and carers.
“Testing needs to be made available immediate for disabled people using care services whether living in their own home or supported living and whether symptomatic or not.
“As a country, we have been, and will continue to face an unprecedented crisis in the form of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We need government to apply testing, and all subsequent public health measures, in an equitable and consistent way across the country.
“The decisions made today that are negatively impacting on disabled people need to be put right to ensure these mistakes are not replicated in future decision making.”