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Judicial review bid launched over coronavirus testing at care homes

The family of a care home resident have expressed concern at fewer inspections of facilities and slammed lack of testing as a ‘threat to life’.

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An MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19 (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

An MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19 (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

An MOT testing centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is being used as a drive through testing location for Covid-19 (Justin Kernoghan/PA)

The family of a care home resident in Northern Ireland has launched a bid for a judicial review into the lack of Covid-19 testing.

The challenge is also around the decision to reduce inspections of care homes by the (Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority) RQIA during the pandemic.

It emerged earlier on Friday that at least 41 people have died from Covid-19 in care homes and hospices in the region.

The figure represents around a quarter of the overall tally and involves 23 separate establishments, official statistics up to earlier this month showed.

The family seeking a judicial review have argued that they have been left not being able to visit their loved one as well as knowing fewer inspections of facilities are taking place.

They said that while some departure from the required level of inspection and supervision is to be expected in a time of crisis, the present approach is “not proportionate”.

They also argue that the lack of testing of care home residents represents a “threat to the life of all who live there”.

While a limited number of tests have been carried out in care homes, Health Minister Robin Swann on Wednesday said where care home residents and/or staff are symptomatic they are being tested, and that testing is being increased.

PA