IT'S been confirmed that all care home staff and residents in Fife are to be offered testing for coronavirus.

The clarification comes after a document issued to care home bosses by NHS Fife and Fife Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), stated that only “prioritised staff” should be tested, in cases where sending staff home would result in an increased risk to patients.

The NHS Fife health board came in for criticism from the Scottish Government who confirmed that the document was not in line with its policy that any care worker with symptoms should be tested through the NHS.

In addition to testing care home staff with symptoms, all consenting staff and residents will be offered tests in homes where COVID-19 is known to be present.

This is regardless of whether they are showing symptoms and will be supported by NHS Fife's mobile coronavirus testing team.

Dona Milne, NHS Fife director of public health, clarified: "We are very grateful to our colleagues in care homes for their hard work in caring for some of our elderly population during these challenging times.

"We have been increasing our support to care homes in recent weeks based upon what they have told us they need. This includes rapid access to testing for staff.

“NHS Fife, in conjunction with the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, are in regular touch with all care homes in the Kingdom to support their response to COVID-19, and have proactively encouraged participation in the health and social care staff testing programme from this sector.

"Care home managers can put their staff forward for testing and we are not aware of any care homes that have been denied access to testing for their staff.

“To make the services as accessible as possible, we established a mobile staff testing service to supplement our established drive-through testing facility at Cameron Hospital. This ensures that key workers without access to transport continue to have access to testing.

“To provide enhanced support for the care home sector in Fife, Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Fife Public Health have recently set up a Care Home Oversight Group and a new care home support team to oversee the provision of additional resources such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to provide rapid testing where it is needed and offer expert guidance and support to Fife’s care homes.

“We will continue to take cognisance of any further updates to Scottish Government policy on testing.

"In the meantime, we will further review the wording of our staff testing guidance to ensure it is as clear as possible."