RELATIVES of an 85-year-old with dementia say they were “disgusted” over failures to test him for coronavirus despite claims that it is available to all care home residents with symptoms.

Leonard Donaghy, a resident at Northgate House Care Home in Glasgow, developed a persistent cough and breathing problems two weeks ago.

Managers had already alerted the family that another resident, in a different part of the facility, had been admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms and subsequently tested positive.

However, they said they were stunned when a request to test Mr Donaghy, a former NHS maintenance engineer, was knocked back.

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Son Craig Donaghy said: “The care home and also the GP recommended that he be tested for Covid-19. A test was requested but this was refused.

“My father worked for the NHS for over 40 years and we are disgusted by this decision.”

His wife, Isabella Donaghy, 83, said: “ I asked the manager - I said I wanted him tested - and she put it forward to the GP.

“The GP phoned to request it, but it was denied. That was over a week ago.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde deny this. They say that no one at Northgate House has ever been in touch to request a Covid test for any resident or staff member.

However, a source close to the care home insists they were never issued with any test kits despite “repeatedly” asking for them.

By Saturday April 25 Mr Donaghy’s condition had deteriorated and he was showing a decline in his blood oxygen levels - a characteristic of Covid-19 patients. The care home contacted NHS 24 and the on-call GP called an ambulance.

Mrs Donaghy, from Glasgow, said: “When they took him into hospital, the doctor there phoned me and said that they had X-rayed him and he had a chest infection.

“I asked if he’d been tested [for Covid] and she said no, but he’d be going back to the home with a course of antibiotics.

“They discharged him around 4.30pm and he didn’t get back to the home until 5.20 in the morning on the Sunday because he had to wait for ambulance to take him.

“My husband would be very confused and frightened being out of his own environment, and he’s liable to go walkabout. I was up the whole night with visions of him just walking out of there.

“I asked the doctor ‘does my husband not have the infection then?’ and she said ‘we can’t say that’.

“He wasn’t tested, I was told, because he wasn’t an ‘overnight stay’. He wasn’t an inpatient and it was only inpatients who would be tested.

“The out of hours GP had said to me ‘he’ll be tested while he’s in hospital’. He was fully expecting my husband to be staying overnight at least, but he was sent back.

“He was very unwell and they were horrified at the home that he was sent back.”

Glasgow Times: Leonard Donaghy (with wife Isabella) has not been able to get a testLeonard Donaghy (with wife Isabella) has not been able to get a test

Mrs Donaghy, a former clerical worker for the NHS, said her husband’s condition is improving, but she fears for his carers and other elderly residents.

She said: “They really have been so kind and so good to everybody. They are exceptional people, I can’t say a word against any carer or manager in that home. They have done their upmost, but none of them have been tested.

“They’ve had one confirmed coronavirus patient, and my husband is still a suspected case. They are walking on eggshells.

“This could spread round the whole home now because they don’t know whose got it and who hasn’t.

“My husband’s never used the health service, but he served it for 40 years and when it comes to getting a simple test done - he can’t get it.

“The residents and staff don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

A source close to the care home confirmed that Mr Donaghy is a suspected Covid case, but said they were told he was not tested while in hospital because no request for it was made by his GP.

Under original infection control plans, all care homes in Scotland were to be issued with five Covid test kits.

This is being increased after the Scottish Government expanded the testing criteria to cover all symptomatic residents.

However, the source said Northgate House has yet to receive a single test kit.

They said: “This home has not had access to any testing. Other HC-One homes in Scotland have, but in Glasgow it’s been a lot slower and trickier.

“Some of the homes in Glasgow have had access to testing, but this one hasn’t. It’s patchy.

“The home has been asking for testing repeatedly.”

It is understood that Mr Donaghy has been isolated a precaution.

An email sent to the home yesterday by NHS GGC said they will receive a delivery of test kits today.

A spokeswoman for NHS GGC said: "From 17 April the NHSGGC Public Health Protection Unit has facilitated testing of symptomatic residents by offering testing kits to care homes in our area.

"Our health protection team has also been giving advice to staff at Northgate House and would have been able to support the care home with testing if this had been requested.

"We have reviewed this patient’s notes and can confirm that he was investigated, treated and managed in line with agreed protocols.

"The likely diagnosis of Covid-19 was discussed with the care home and patient’s family, and the patient was discharged with advice and treatment."

A spokesman for the home's operator, HC-One, said: “We are working with our local health and care partners to secure a test for any resident with symptoms and we can confirm that testing is arranged to take place this week.

"In the meantime, and as a precaution, any resident presenting with symptoms is isolated and supported as if they have the virus."