The council says it will not comply with a government instruction to send Covid patients into care homes.

Two weeks ago, councils were asked by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) to identify care homes to discharge Covid positive patients into from hospitals, pending completion of social isolation.

After sending a letter raising concerns about the request, Reading Borough Council (RBC) now says it will not comply with it.

READ MORE: Council requests government Covid u-turn on care homes

Councillor Tony Jones, the council’s lead member for Adult Social Care, announced the decision at a committee meeting last week.

He said: “Reading Council will not be complying with the government instruction to identify care homes where Covid-19 positive patients can be discharged from hospital.

“We fundamentally disagree that this is the best approach for those patients

or, indeed, for existing care home residents.

“In Reading we consider that it is not acceptable nor reasonable to ask care homes to take new admissions of patients who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are potentially infectious.

“Our position is based on our experiences earlier in the pandemic, which

have left many care settings very worn down with the impact that this has

had for the residents and their families.

“Most of the care homes in Reading would struggle to convert their premises to accommodate such patients safely without this affecting their ability to care for others.”

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Instead, the council says it will, along with West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council, work with health partners on the basis of the ‘HomeFirst’ principle, supporting patients with care at home until they have competed their isolation or tested negative for Covid-19.

Cllr Jones, speaking at the council’s Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Education committee on Thursday (October 22), added: “We are also disappointed that the requirement for these arrangements is placed upon the council’s executive director, yet the funding for this is allocated to health partners. This makes no sense.

“However, we remain committed to working with the DHSC and CQC to provide the best available care for some of the most vulnerable people in

our town.”