DOZENS of care home residents left hospital without being tested during the height of lockdown, the Leader can reveal.

A Freedom of Information request made by the leader discovered that 207 patients were discharged from Wrexham Maelor Hospital back into care homes between March 23 and July 1.

The Health Board could not break this down to local care homes, just that they were discharged back into any care home in Wales.

Of those 207, the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board confirmed 120 patients were tested before being discharged during that time period.

This meant that 87 patients were not tested before they were sent back to the care home setting.

The Health Board confirmed that of the patient’s that were tested during this time scale, five had tested positive for Covid-19.

However, the number of positive cases could be higher as 40 per cent of these patients were not tested at all during this time period.

The UK went into a national lockdown on March 23.

Debra Hickman, Acting Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “We have followed Welsh Government guidance throughout the course of the pandemic. This includes following the guidance issued by the Welsh Government on April 22, 2020, requesting that all patients being discharged from hospital to a step down or care home setting be tested, regardless of whether or not they were admitted to hospital with COVID-19.”

The approach was changed in April so that all patients leaving hospital would be tested.

A Welsh Government spokesperson, added: “We cannot comment on these figures.

“Our testing policy for Wales has been informed by the latest medical and scientific advice, which has evolved as we have learned more about the virus.

“We extended testing to people being discharged from hospital to a care home, for those being transferred between care homes and for new admissions from the community when the evidence changed on 22 April.

“Our current policy states that anyone being discharged from hospital to a care home requires a negative Covid 19 test. This policy remains unchanged and we would expect any resident being discharged from hospital or being newly admitted to a care home to first have a negative Covid 19 test before being granted entry to the care home.”

At the start of the pandemic, residents and staff in care homes with confirmed case of coronavirus were tested.

This later changed so that every care homes in Wales will have access to testing. Care homes who have not reported an outbreak or any cases of coronavirus were able to use an online portal to order testing kits for their residents and staff.

The existing testing arrangement included care homes with ongoing cases, care homes reporting an outbreak, and care homes with more than 50 beds.