The Commissioner welcomes the Health Minister’s announcement that testing will be rolled-out to all residents and staff in care homes.

Eddie Lynch said:

"I welcome that the Health Minister has now announced a rolling programme of universal testing for all staff and residents in care homes, including in those homes where there has not yet been an outbreak or a reported case of Covid-19. It is vital that every effort is made to make sure this testing is rolled out as quickly as possible to try to address the genuine fears of residents, family members and care workers at this difficult time.

“Testing is one of a number of key tools needed to protect the most vulnerable residents in our care homes. I have been inundated with queries and requests for help from families and residents themselves asking for tests and have continued to push hard on this issue. My role is to work hard to ensure these older people’s voices are heard and that all measures possible are taken to protect them.

"I will be seeking more detail on how the programme will be undertaken so that families know what to expect, including when and how frequently their relative will be tested. Any human rights concerns or issues of consent to the test being carried out must be dealt with sensitively by providers and those carrying out the test and most importantly, in consultation with residents and their families.

“I also wish to be assured that this programme will continue for as long as it is required going forward to help in keeping Covid-19 out of care homes and to avoid a further surge in these settings where older people live together.”