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Elderly vulnerable people and their families are being forced to lie about having coronavirus symptoms to get tests just so they can enter care homes, ministers have been warned.
HuffPost UK has heard the story of one woman who was advised by her GP and social worker to lie about her 97-year-old mother having Covid-19 symptoms so she could access a government test that would allow her to enter respite care if the result was negative.
Care industry figures suggested the case was illustrative of a wider problem across England amid fears that carers and vulnerable people who need to get respite care cannot access it.
And care minister Helen Whateley has been urged by the Liberal Democrats to issue clear guidance so all those entering care homes from the community can get access to tests, to stop the virus spreading among vulnerable people.
The government has been severely criticised for its policy on care homes in the early stages of the pandemic, following the deaths of thousands of residents.
Currently, anyone with Covid-19 symptoms in the community can get a test.
Care homes can also apply for coronavirus tests for residents and staff. Regular testing for staff (weekly) and residents (every 28 days) was also rolled out last month, and people entering care homes from hospitals are routinely tested.
But the government’s testing guidelines make no mention of how people entering care homes from the community, particularly for respite care, can access a test if they do not have symptoms.
HuffPost UK heard the story of one woman, Angela*, who was seeking two weeks of residential respite care for her mother to allow her and her sister a break from caring and the opportunity to go on holiday with family.
The daughters had been left looking after their mother, who has vascular dementia, since the beginning of March after the pandemic forced the day care...