Jewish care homes struggle to get coronavirus tests

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Jewish care homes struggle to get coronavirus tests

Government failing to deliver promised virus swabs, with one care provider having received a 'small number' of tests and another saying it had a 'poor and limited' experience

The community’s top health and social care provider this week revealed it’s received only a “small number” of the promised virus swab tests for its residents nationwide.

Jewish Care’s chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said on Wednesday: “Since the government announcement at the end of April that all care home residents and staff can now be tested for Covid-19, regardless of symptoms, to date we have only received a small number of tests for our residents.”

The charity is pushing to obtain more tests “to better meet the needs of those in our care”.

Authorities and MPs contacted by the care provider have all been “sympathetic” to its needs, Carmel-Brown said. “While we have seen testing rolled out across a handful of our homes, it has been inconsistent in others. We eagerly await any guidance on how more tests will reach us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday that the number of deaths among residents at care homes in England has been “too high” as he unveiled a £600million package to control the virus.

When approached for comment, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The government is working around the clock to make sure care homes and our frontline care workforce are getting the support they need to protect residents.

“We have built the largest diagnostic testing industry in British history from scratch and all care home staff and residents can now be tested, whether they have symptoms or not, with tens of thousands already tested.”

This week’s Jewish News front page

The department has widened capacity and expects up to 30,000 daily tests will be made available to residents and staff at all elderly care homes, whether they are showing symptoms or not, by early June.

In Manchester, the Fed initially had a “poor and limited” experience of testing in the period leading up to 20 April, but it has since noticed significant improvements and received help from the local authority. Mark Cunningham, chief executive of the leading social care charity for the city’s Jewish community, told Jewish News: “We are also able to test our residents on the same day if they become symptomatic. Our situation is now stable but we are not being complacent.”

The charity executive himself tested positive for the virus last month but was well enough to return to work last week.

Some 100 members of staff of a workforce of 400 have been off or in isolation since 23 March, he said. Out of the 70 staff tested, nearly half (30) had tested positive.

Cunningham added: “All care homes need access to testing that is timely and accessible to minimise any further loss of life.”

A spokesperson for Nightingale Hammerson said in a statement on Wednesday: “Securing tests for all our residents and staff is a key priority.  We are successfully getting residents with symptoms tested via our GP service and continue to chase daily for the testing kits promised two weeks ago for all other residents.

“Staff are being successfully tested by our human resources team, who have applied for home kits via the government online portal and that process remains ongoing.”



Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: