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Patients were sent back to care homes without Covid test despite bosses’ plea

Thousands of hospital patients were allowed to return to their care homes without a Covid test despite a direct plea to the government from major care providers not to allow the practice, the Observer has been told.

As the crisis began to unfold in early March 2020, providers held an emergency meeting with department of health officials in which they urged the government not to force them to accept untested residents. However, weeks later, official advice remained that tests were not mandatory and thousands of residents are thought to have returned to their homes without a negative Covid result.

The revelation will heap further pressure on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who has admitted some care residents returned from hospital without a test. It comes after Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former senior adviser, last week accused Hancock of misleading the prime minister over the policy, during his unprecedented evidence in parliament.

Some 25,000 people were discharged to care homes between 17 March and 15 April, and there is widespread belief among social care workers and leaders that this allowed the virus to get into the homes.

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Source: The Guardian, 29 May 2021


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