THE Welsh Government has confirmed that 1,097 patients were sent from the hospital to care homes without being tested for Covid-19 during March and April. It also maintained that it has been following the scientific advice throughout the crisis.

The Government also said the policy change from just testing care home residents with common symptoms to all residents, with or without symptoms, was not introduced until 29 April.

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford has insisted that the government followed scientific advice. Adding that “Early on the advice to was test symptomatic people, anybody who had symptoms were tested before they left the hospital, and the advice early on was that the testing of people without symptoms would not have given useful outcomes.

“When the advice changed, we changed the practice.”

Data has revealed that 1,097 patients were discharged from hospital to care homes before the change to the testing regime at the end of April.

The Office for National Statistics shows there have been 654 Covid-19 deaths in Welsh care homes to 5 June – accounting for 28% of all coronavirus deaths in Wales.

Care Inspectorate Wales compiles its own figures, which showed it was notified of 2,937 deaths in care homes since 1 March.

This is 86% higher than the deaths reported for the same time period in 2019.

Care Forum Wales said care homes felt under pressure to take hospital patients without tests. and this “turned safe havens into coronavirus warzones”.

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said: “We are paying the price for the way social care was pushed to the back of the queue when it came to having the necessary resources to protect residents and staff from Covid-19.

When interviewed on BBC Wales’ Politics Wales programme the Health Minister Vaughan Gething MS said:

“We, of course, developed a further understanding and further knowledge, so if I had the knowledge I have today, I’d have probably made different choices at a number of points in the coronavirus pandemic.

“We certainly haven’t taken a cavalier approach.”

Delyth Jewell MS has commented,  “Why the Welsh Government allowed over a thousand patients to enter care homes from hospitals without being tested for Covid-19 will be one of the main questions the forthcoming public inquiry will need to ascertain.

 

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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