A new online portal specifically for care homes to order COVID-19 test kits has been launched by the Government, as it pledges to test all symptomatic and asymptomatic care home staff and residents in England.

The new portal allows those who book tests for staff and residents to do so more easily and offers a route for the prioritisation of care homes with the greatest need, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Care homes can apply whether or not any of their residents or staff have coronavirus symptoms.

Care home managers will be notified of test results for residents and this information will also be provided to councils to help manage coronavirus outbreaks in local areas.

The service is being rolled out to all care homes in a phased approach; it is currently available for care homes whose primary clients are older people or those with dementia. As the national testing capacity increases, the Government is prioritising testing for care homes and other areas with the greatest need.

Domiciliary care staff who need a test should continue to use the self-referral website to request a home test or book an appointment at a test site.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that, by prioritising thousands of tests for care home staff and residents, the national testing capacity can be targeted in the areas and care homes with the greatest need. It is working with local authority directors of Public Health, directors of Adult Social Services and local NHS providers to deliver the testing programme for care homes.

To apply for COVID-19 tests the portal is available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-care-home.

Last reviewed 19 May 2020