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Homes owner wants more

Hitting test kit target ‘just end of beginning’ says Kilgour

Robert Kilgour

Robert Kilgour: ‘We have had too many false starts’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Care homes owner Robert Kilgour today said that hitting the Scottish government’s target for delivering testing kits in the sector should be the ‘end of the beginning’.

Mr Kilgour, whose Renaissance Care has 15 homes across Scotland, welcomed progress so far but warned of “too many false starts’ and he called for twice-a-week testing of staff.

His comments came after the government said NHS labs in all health board areas in Scotland have met the 3,500 target for daily processing capacity.

All residents and staff will now be tested in care homes with an outbreak, whether or not they have symptoms.

However, Mr Kilgour called for more mobile testing units to improve access for social care residents and staff alike.

He said that hitting the target was “good news that will boost morale across a hard-stretched social care sector this weekend.

“Progress has been positive and I commend the Scottish Government for knuckling down and achieving some quite tough targets on testing overall.

This is just the end of the beginning as far as testing for social care settings is concerned.

– Robert Kilgour, Renaissance Care

“My congratulations and thanks go to ministers as well as all those staff at testing centres across the country who have pulled together to rise to the challenge set.

“But this is just the end of the beginning as far as testing for social care settings is concerned.

“We have had too many false starts before. So the government really needs to keep its foot on the accelerator pedal, driving up testing capacity further still, until it reaches every care home resident and worker where and when they need it.”

Mr Kilgour, who built the Four Seasons care homes business before selling it in 2004, has campaigned for more Covid-19 testing kits and continues to press the case for greater protection for care workers and staff.

Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, Renaissance Care has faced a shortage of testing for residents and care staff across its 15 homes.

He said that only 139 tests have been carried out on its 1100 staff, while only 121 of its 700 residents have been tested so far with currently 17 residents who have Covid-19 symptoms still awaiting tests.

Also, only 29% of our tragic suspected COVID-19 deaths had a positive test result.

Mr Kilgour added: “Going forward, ease of access is absolutely crucial. Many social care staff simply don’t have cars to reach NHS test centres, so we urgently need mobile testing units to come to care homes if testing is to be fully accessible to the people who need it most and who are currently working flat out at the front line against COVID-19.

“Ideally, we must also quickly reach a point where every care home staff member is tested at least twice a week – whether they’re symptomatic or not – to begin to flatten the curve of Covid-19 transmissions and save lives in the social care sector.”

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