At Test Assurance Group (TAG), we have been trialing our rapid response Covid-19 antigen tests in two of Scottish Care Home provider Balhousie Care Group’s care homes as Scotland moves closer to in-home care visits.
Balhousie’s solution is a software system run by Test Assurance Group. We have developed a platform allowing on-site testing throughput to within 30 minutes from the point of test. Our TAG platform, which has been seven months in development, runs via a GDPR compliant app and is designed to be able to cope with large-scale antigen testing simply and effectively.
The care group, owned by Tony Banks, operates 26 facilities across Scotland, and is halfway through a four-week trial of rapid response antigen tests among care staff at two of its largest homes, Balhousie St. Ronans in Dundee and Balhousie Wheatlands in Bonnybridge. The nasal swab tests take place on-site using lateral flow devices (LFDs) and results are received within 30 minutes.
Balhousie Care Group’s testing move comes after months of mass testing problems, which have been taking place among care home staff since June. Balhousie Care Group has been public in its frustration over the turnaround time of the weekly PCR tests. The group is still seeing delays in results of 4 to 7 days, with hundreds of staff test results never returned, however stress that each of the trials is being run in parallel with the regular PCR mass testing that is taking place in its homes.
Jill Kerr, Group Chief Executive Officer of Balhousie Care Group, said: “Since schools and universities returned at the end of August, we have experienced significant issues with delays and non-return of tests. We have been in regular contact with the Scottish Government to share our frustrations and propose solutions to these issues.”
From today, the Scottish Government are increasing testing, including rapid response testing, to designated visitors to care homes as well as health professionals who visit the homes. According to the Scottish Government, there will be trials in a select number of homes and a national rollout by the end of February.
The Scottish Care Group have continued to face delays of 7 days and more for test results with the regular PCR tests, way more than the recommended 48 hours.
Cliff Kirby of Test Assurance Group said: “Test Assurance Group (TAG) are thrilled to be supporting this initiative led by Balhousie Care Group. As a business we have spent over seven months learning, understanding, and developing our software platform to support large scale Covid-19 testing.
“We have focused heavily on ensuring we have robust solutions around GDPR and data ownership while at the same time ensuring we are building a system that will allow for mass testing to evolve in a manner that is understood and controllable.
“Working with Balhousie Care Group is a great opportunity to show that our platform really meets the needs of the market and helps Balhousie as they look to lead the charge in welcoming back relatives and visitors to their care homes.”
“As a business we are focused on ensuring that we deliver a product solution that adds values to all parties and playing our part in ensuring that loved ones can see their relatives once more”.
Test Assurance Group was set up earlier this year by a group of experienced individuals with engineering, healthcare, business and military backgrounds with an aim of helping UK employers and institutions get their teams and students safely back to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Balhousie Care Group was one of the first care home operators in the country to take the difficult decision to close its homes to non-essential visits, on March 11th. Since then it has publicly called for widespread testing of care home staff that is both quick and accurate, as well as more consistent infection control policies among local authorities.
Test Assurance Group (TAG) have developed an end to end testing system that works in a least fuss, user friendly and GDPR compliant manner. TAG have developed a market leading test process and protocol that enables employers to make decisions in real time around their return to work/school process.
For more information about Test Assurance Group or to contact us, please;
call +44 (0)330 124 4371
For more information about Balhousie Care Group, visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk