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21 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Welsh government reported to human rights watchdog over care home testing

   

By Samuel Horti

The Welsh government has been reported to the human rights watchdog by the national older people’s commissioner over its delays to expand testing in care homes.

Helena Herklots, appointed by the government in 2018, said she had “serious concerns” that older people’s right to life had been breached by the government’s failure to ensure testing was in place “as quickly as it needed to be for every resident and every member of staff”.

“I’m extremely disappointed and saddened that the Welsh government hasn’t moved quickly on this,” she said. “That is why I believe the Equality and Human Rights Commission needs to investigate how older people have been treated throughout this pandemic.”

Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething defended the government’s decision not to test asymptomatic people earlier in the pandemic because evidence suggested there “wasn’t a value” in testing them.

“What I do accept is that in some parts of Wales there are some examples of where some care homes were wrongly refused tests,” he told the BBC. “It took much longer than I would want to see my very clear policy choice implemented.”

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