Lateral flow tests could cost care home visitors £73 a month, a leading UK charity has said, as it renewed calls to keep the devices free in such settings.
The government has previously announced that free testing for the general public will end from 1 April, and that this will include care home visitors.
However, charities have warned the shift away from free tests could place a heavy financial burden on those visiting care homes, where testing is still advised.
James White, the head of public affairs and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the proposed charge on lateral flow tests for visitors to care homes was a cruel tax on care.
“Over the past two years, we’ve consistently heard many tragic stories from families struggling to visit their loved ones in care homes. For many people with dementia, this isolation has led to a significant deterioration in their condition and mental health,” he said.
“With infection rates rising once again, the government must provide free lateral flow tests for all visitors to care homes so that families are not put in an agonising position where they are forced to ration visits, leaving people with dementia once again isolated and alone.”
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “No one should have to pay out of their own pocket for tests in circumstances where the expert advice is clear that testing remains an important safeguard against Covid,” she said.
“If care home visitors are going to continue to be asked to keep testing to protect their loved ones, it would be completely unacceptable to expect them to pay.”
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Source: The Guardian, 15 March 2022
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