First Minister tells care home operators to ‘properly observe’ agreed coronavirus protocols
The First Minister has pointed to operators of care homes across Wales as having responsiblity to deliver on sector based agreed coronavirus protocols.
Yesterday morning it was sadly confirmed fifteen residents had died in the last few weeks at a care home in Llangollen, with 56 positive cases of coronavirus amongst residents.
Earlier this week Flintshire Council chief executive Colin Everett revealed there had been a spike in coronavirus cases within the county’s care homes, with 12 establishments currently impacted.
During Friday’s Welsh Government briefing the First Minister was asked about the rising number of cases in care home settings.
The First Minister said: “I do think that the rules around care homes are much stronger now than they were back in the Spring.
“We’ve got a much better understanding of the way the Coronavirus spreads, but once Coronavirus is in a care home, it is there with a group of the most vulnerable people with underlying health conditions, elderly people.
“It is a virus that just attacks people in that deadly way. Once it is in a care home, then it really is down to all the things that the care home itself has to do in terms of infection control, in terms of the way that staff use PPE and so on.
“A lot of help is being provided, both to that care home in Llangollen where there is that very sad story today, but also to other care homes as well, to make sure that all those basic things the care home itself has to take responsibility for are being done in the best possible way.”
In the statement this morning from the Incident Management Team involved with the Llangollen incident they said “We would like to assure all concerned that control measures have been put in place working jointly with the care home, including limiting the movement of staff and residents to reduce transmission.”
The First Minister was asked if he would be ensuring such measures are in place for care homes across Wales, and why that is the response rather than the standard.
He said: “It is the standard already. It is what we’ve agreed with the sector, that they must minimise the movement of staff between different locations, that the use of agency staff must be controlled in the same way, that visiting arrangements at care homes have to be closely aligned with the nature of the population.
“I don’t think it is a matter of the approach that we have agreed with a sector needing to be amended, it is the delivery of the approach, it is making sure that it is being properly observed in care homes.
“The vast majority of care homes in Wales are not run by local authorities, they are run by private individuals and there are a very large number of different people involved in that.
“What we have to do is to make sure that the things that we have agreed with a sector have been delivered on the ground, and the local Incident Management Team alongside Denbighshire county council and the Health Board have been helping at this care home to make sure that all the things that need to be in place are properly in place.”
Roberts Homes (North Wales) Limited, who run the Llangollen care home issued the below statement yesterday:
The Llangollen Fechan nursing home in Denbighshire has experienced a high level of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.
As a result, we are deeply sorry to report 15 residents with coronavirus have died in the Llangollen Fechan. Our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences go out to the families of those deceased residents. We are continuing to support the next of kin who have lost a loved one and also those families whose loved ones remain in our care, during this difficult time.
A total of 56 residents and 33 staff have tested positive for Covid-19. As an organisation we are working with the relevant departments of Denbighshire County Council, Public Health Wales and many other organisations to manage and contain the situation and continue to follow the appropriate guidelines. We very much appreciate the support we are being given.
All the staff at Llangollen Fechan are committed to providing compassionate and high-quality care for all residents in both its EMI and Residential Units. We thank all our staff for their continued support. Our main priority will always be to make sure all of the residents in our homes are as safe as possible.
We are taking every precaution to ensure prevention measures are in place to contain the outbreak and minimise transmission. We are working closely with our colleagues in public health and other public bodies to monitor the situation and to ensure all necessary action is taken. Regular testing of our residents and staff continues and we continue to advise those who have been in close contact to self-isolate in line with national guidelines.
Andrew RT Davies MS, the Shadow Minister for Health, reacted to the news today saying: “This is horrendous, and my sympathies and condolences go to the families who have tragically lost a loved one in this Llangollen care home.”
“This raises serious questions over testing and infection control in one of the most vulnerable settings in society, and at this stage of the pandemic given the knowledge we have acquired on transmission, is deeply concerning.”
“Labour’s health minister must initiate an urgent investigation into such outbreaks and direct testing and financial resources at protecting the most vulnerable in society.”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS said: “This is deeply distressing news for the families and carers involved and my sympathy goes out to all affected.
“While every effort is being made to limit and control this deadly virus, sadly there are outbreaks like this and I’m sure this particular care home is not the only one facing these challenges.
“With that in mind, I’ve contacted the interim chief executive of Betsi Cadwaladr health board to ask about the extent of care home and hospital outbreaks across the North and what actions are being taken to ensure that rigorous infection control is in place to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
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