The letter, signed by Seona Douglas, Reading Borough Council’s executive director for Social Care & Health, alongside other adult social care directors, states: "In Berkshire West we consider that it is not acceptable to ask care homes to take new admission patients who are tested positive for COVID-19 and are potentially infectious. 

"This is based on our experiences earlier in the pandemic, which have left many care settings very worn down with the impact that this has had for the residents and their families, some suffering significantly. Many of our care homes would struggle to convert their premises to accommodate safely such patients without this affecting others, despite the measures many have put in place to manage the risks.” 

“The ‘Home First’ principle is embedded in our system as the most appropriate way to encourage independence and well-being for our residents, hence we wish to consider alternatives to those proposed in your letters in order to manage COVID-19 positive discharges.” 

The council’s ‘Home First’ policy enables patients to return home with a tailored package of ‘wrap around’ support and reablement. 

The DHSC letter to all local authorities in England states ‘Anyone with a COVID-19 positive test result being discharged into or back into a registered care home setting must be discharged into an appropriate designated setting and cared for there for the remainder of the required isolation period.’