Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services
We have today published a framework for COVID-19 testing for hospital patients in Wales. It builds on our refreshed testing strategy for Wales we published in January, which reiterates our testing priorities including supporting NHS clinical care and protecting our NHS and social care services and people who are among our most vulnerable.
The framework sets out five purposes of testing to diagnose, to prevent COVID-19 from entering hospitals undetected, to prevent its spread within hospitals, to reduce risks to particularly vulnerable cohorts of patients requiring treatment, and to enable the safe discharge of patients to their home or to community care. By enabling those patients admitted to hospital who are infected with COVID-19 to be rapidly identified, clinical judgements can be made to ensure the best care for them.
The ability of our hospitals to safely maintain a full range of clinical services is dependent upon the prevention of transmission of COVID-19 within hospitals. This requires the separation, so far as possible, of patients with COVID-19 even if they are asymptomatic. This aim is most likely to be achieved by regular and systematic testing of patients in hospitals. Transmission from and between staff should also be minimised by regular staff testing through the twice-weekly lateral flow testing of frontline health and social care workers we introduced in December.
It is intended that the framework will apply to community hospitals, mental health facilities and independent hospitals, including hospices, as well as NHS hospitals.
Framework for COVID-19 testing for hospital patients in Wales