UNISON on the Isle of Wight says it welcomes the government's plans to test all patients for COVID-19, if they are being discharged from hospital into care homes, but says it must happen quickly. 

Care residents with coronavirus symptoms and social care staff who need one will also be tested, the government has pledged.

The union says the measures should already have been in place.

The Care Quality Commission has been asked to contact the country’s 30,000 care providers in the coming days, including those on the Isle of Wight, said the government yesterday (Thursday).

Read the statement in full here.

UNISON says there is concern on the Island that people who leave hospital but still require care - in homes and in the community - are not already being routinely tested.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has confirmed those with symptoms are tested, but widespread testing is not yet in place.

The national policy has led to fears that COVID-19 might be unwittingly transferred.

Isle of Wight UNISON local government branch secretary Mark Chiverton told the Isle of Wight County Press: “We welcome yesterday’s moves by the government, but it’s imperative that adequate resources are in place. Testing should become a reality as a matter of urgency.

“There is an increasing concern among staff in care homes - in both Isle of Wight Council-run respite facilities and those in the voluntary and private sector. 

“There is a real danger in terms of transferring the virus into the community. Staff are very concerned about it, for their own safety and the safety of other residents.”

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it was unable to say how many of its staff had been tested for coronavirus, meanwhile. Earlier this week, the widespread testing of healthcare workers had not started.

The Isle of Wight County Press has also asked how many Isle of Wight Council care workers have been tested. An updated statement, in light of yesterday’s announcement, is expected.