Independent Care Group: allow tested visitors into homes

The Independent Care Group (ICG) has called on the government to allow a single nominated and tested visitor to see family members in care and nursing homes.

The representative body said care providers are becoming increasingly concerned about the mental wellbeing of their residents as lockdown restrictions continue.

“We cannot keep residents in lockdown for ever as many have had very little contact for several months now. If the visiting restrictions are to go on and become even more severe, we have to find a way to reunite them with their families,” said ICG chairman Mike Padgham (pictured).

“One way would be to have a nominated family member who could be effectively given carer status and tested. Once the result of the test was known they could then visit their loved one,” he added.

The ICG also said the country needs a clearer message over lockdown rather than “piecemeal” arrangements.

Mr Padgham added: “Are we going to have a full lockdown for a short period to try to nip this in the bud or are we going to continue with geographical lockdowns that I feel are causing more confusion than good?

“If the government announces a short total lockdown, then that will make it even more vital that we can facilitate a way for our residents to be able to see their loved ones.”

The organisation, which represents providers in North Yorkshire, also questioned the availability of the second, £546m round of the Infection Control Fund announced earlier this month.

“The previous infection control fund runs out today but as yet there is no indication of when the second fund will arrive or any detail on how it can be spent. We need this support urgently as the second wave of coronavirus gathers pace.