The Government has been criticised for slapping families with relatives living in care homes with a massive bill after free Covid tests end from Friday, April 1
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Families visiting relatives in care homes face paying up to £1,200 a year on Covid tests, as the Government was blasted for putting a “tax on caring”.
Universal free lateral flow tests will end on Friday.
People aged 80 and over will still be able to get them, alongside those with compromised immune systems – if they have symptoms.
That would mean a family of four visiting someone once a week would fork out almost £24 a week, or £1,246 per year.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, who was a carer for his mum and now cares for his son, slammed the Tories’ “reckless” move.
He said: “With rates of Covid rising and many concerned they may pass this virus to their vulnerable loved ones, the Government’s decision to scrap free Covid tests is reckless.
“Not only will this put people at risk, it will also hit families in the pocket just as taxes are being hiked and energy bills are skyrocketing.
“The end to free testing is a tax on those who visit loved ones in care homes – it is a tax on caring.
“Instead of helping families that are struggling to get by, Boris Johnson is scrapping free testing in a short-sighted move that will increase the cost of day-to-day life for millions of people.
“The Chancellor must execute a U-turn on his behalf.”
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It comes after NHS Confederation called for clarity on whether medics will have to continue to get regular tests – and foot the bill themselves
Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said forcing them to pay would be “a disaster”.
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He said: “Imagine working with very vulnerable patients, it would be devastating to imagine you might infect them with something that might kill them.
“And the onus is on you to keep paying for testing. How can that be OK?”
Around 3.5million people are likely to have had Covid in the week to March 19, the Office for National Statistics said.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “From April 1 free tests will only be available for certain groups who are most at risk. We will set out more details shortly.”