The Brakenlea Care Home, owned by Brookvale Healthcare is located in Pearson Lane, Shawford, near Winchester and accommodates 25 residents in 25 single rooms.
The care home have previously experienced problems with the Randox Covid-19 Test kits costing the taxpayer £120.00 Each supplied by the government.
Randox sent a faulty batch in May that had to be discarded due to them being unsafe for use and on the 23rd May had a courier collect another batch of tests and everyone test results came back void.
As if the process was not bad enough the Care Home then on the 27th May had a courier through Randox collect new tests and the laboratory claimed to have had no record of the tests and they were lost.
In the latest error, 35 Covid-19 tests were completed on residents and staff to be collected on the 8th October, only for no courier to show up. After the Care Home attempting to contact the company they were then left to seek advice from Public Health for England who told them to dispose of the tests in the yellow biohazard bin on site.
The testing process is not easy in care homes and residents often cannot understand what is happening. Staff are requires to Take a throat swab which is more invasive than taking a nose swab and can be uncomfortable for the person being tested.
To take a throat swab safely, the person being swabbed needs to be able to understand and comply with instructions, including
having the ability to maintain their mouth wide open for the period of the swabbing. This can be difficult not only for people with advanced dementia, but also for those with limited strength due to severe frailty, that is why the process must be right first time,
Co-ordinator Stef who works in the home told us;
“As a care home we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and residents safe but feel we are being let down by these testing companies.
We are now stuck with a box of void Covid tests which we can’t just dispose. We have contacted public health of England for advice and we are waiting a call back.
This is frustrating as our residents have dementia and having a Covid test can be traumatic to them and they can become agitated.
As a member of staff I spent a long time doing these tests individually packing them and submitting them in line. Not only was my time wasted but I wasted a lot of PPE by doing these tests that weren’t collected and put the residents through unnecessary discomfort. This isn’t the first experience we have had with faulty/void covid tests.
Randox have since been contacted but have refused to comment on individual cases.
Public Health England say;
“There’s a separate testing service for care home residents or staff members. The staff and residents do not need to have coronavirus symptoms for you to get the tests.”