Fylde MP Mark Menzies has asked the Secretary of State for Health for assurances over care home residents and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Menzies said: “I’ve been in touch with several care home owners in Fylde and they had concerns over shielding their residents following hospital discharges, and the provision of PPE equipment and equipment training.
“These are the most vulnerable people in this pandemic and we have to do everything in our power to protect them.
“I’ve written to the Secretary of State to ask for assurances after I was told there were concerns over elderly people returning to care homes from hospital.
“We must have ‘drop down’ facilities for people to move into, and I am pleased to hear following my letter that such a facility is being opened on the University of Central Lancashire’s sports ground. Recovering residents leaving hospital will be taken to this facility for further testing to ensure they are not put back into a care home and be capable of infecting others.”
Mr Menzies said the main concern from care home owners was for the provision of PPE equipment.
He added: “I have asked the Secretary of State about the availability of PPE equipment and the regularity of deliveries.
“I have also made contact with the Lancashire Resilience Partnership to ask about training for staff in the use of PPE equipment.”
The text of Mr Menzies’ email to the Secretary of State is as follows:
“I have spoken to several nursing homes owners who have raised various concerns about the processes involved around coronavirus, and hope you can give assurances to them.
“The primary concerns raised were regarding discharge from hospital and back into care facilities.
“Is there a ‘step down’ procedure which will enable people to go to another location for testing, before being allowed to return to a care home? I am worried that hospitals are discharging people back into a care home environment when they may be ‘recovered’ but still contagious. We must prevent the spread of coronavirus within care homes at all costs.
“The residents of care homes are often those most vulnerable to the virus, and they are in a captive environment.
“I have also been told of concerns over both the supply of PPE equipment to nursing homes, and the level of training for staff in its use.
“It appears the PPE supplied has been limited and has no solid ongoing surety of supply date – it often arrives late. Can you give me assurances the supply is improving in terms of both quantity and expectation dates?
“There was a suggestion that the PPE supply network was being enhanced for the NHS but also for care homes, at one of the recent press conferences. Do you have any information on this and do you have the ability at this time to push for more PPE/ testing kits as quickly as possible for these homes?
“Considering many of the residents of these home are NHS funded also as nursing patients, there is a strong argument for NHS PPE to be shared with them.
“And can you confirm when it is likely testing kits, which many homes have ordered, will receive them? They too will be vital in protecting the vulnerable in these homes.”