Reading Council rejects government edict on 'Covid care homes'

Covid-positive patients should not be discharged from hospital into designated care homes, says lead councillor.
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Reading Borough Council has confirmed it ‘will not be complying’ with a government instruction to set up dedicated Covid-positive care homes.

Councillor Tony Jones, lead councillor for adult social care, said: “We fundamentally disagree that this is the best approach for those patients or, indeed, for existing care home residents.”

He said all councils had been sent a letter by the Department of Health and Social Care requiring adult social care directors to identify designated care homes for people who were Covid-19 positive when needing to be discharged from hospital.

“In Reading we consider that it is not acceptable nor reasonable to ask care homes to take new admissions of patients who are tested positive for COVID19 and are potentially infectious,” said Cllr Jones, in response to a question from councillor Rob White.  “Our position is based on our experiences earlier in the pandemic, which have left many care settings very worn down with the impact that this has had for the residents and their families. Most of the care homes in Reading would struggle to convert their premises to accommodate safely such patients without this affecting their ability to care for others,” Cllr Jones added.

The council wanted residents to get the care they required safely until they had completed social isolation or tested negative.

Councillor Jones said it also made “no sense” that the government had asked councils to comply but given the funding for the task to the NHS.

The issue came up at an online meeting of the council’s adult social care, children’s and education committee on 22 October 2020.

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