Surrey Care Association Vice Chair and Birtley House Chairman, Simon Whalley speaking to BBC Surrey Breakfast host James Cannon.

22 May, 2020

Tuesday 19th May 2020 on BBC surrey – Surrey Care Association Vice Chair and Birtley House Chairman, Simon Whalley speaking to BBC Surrey Breakfast host James Cannon.


James Cannon: “We know at least 360 care home residents in surrey have passed away with covid-19, why do you think the numbers are so high?”


Simon Whalley: “Partly because there’s a very large number of care homes in surrey, we have a much higher number than most places, I think 143 last I counted and it does have an effect on that, and clearly in the early stages when testing wasn’t available, there was also a lot of pressure on care homes to take people, to help the NHS to get people out from the hospitals, and without testing clearly that was a problem.


Clearly without testing as well, we do always have a problem with staff and others who don’t show any symptoms with people coming into care homes. We at Birtley did make a big decision early on – A) we were not going to accept people from hospitals without testing and B) that we would quickly reduce the number of people coming into the care homes. Which has been hard for our residents quite clearly, but it has helped keep them safe.


We have had some cases, but there has not been a large number and on the whole we have managed to maintain that. As indeed, I think as the sector as a whole now is much more confident in what its doing now that they can get slightly more testing but there is a long way to go before testing becomes truly effective in terms of reducing the risk because unless you can get all your staff tested every week at least – you are not going to be able to manage that. And that requires for care home staff something like 360,000 tests per day in order to get all the staff tested every week in the care sector.”


James Cannon: “We wonder a lot of pressure to take patients, but Birtley said no.”


To listen to the full interview, click here.

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