'I haven't seen my wife alone since March'

A pensioner is distressed he is unable to see his sick wife of 50 years face-to-face because of a delay in getting care home staff and patients Covid-tested. The government pledged to send out kits to homes in the social care sector from July 6.

James and Veronica Graffham James and Veronica Graffham

But a month later, a manager of a Gillingham nursing home where James Graffham’s wife is being looked after, is yet receive any updated information. Berengrove Park boss Share Sparks said: “We have been put on hold.

There’s obviously a problem, but we are not being told anything.

“We are just waiting to get a message from the Covid team to say they are on their way.” Ms Sparks said the hold up has left her with no other option than to follow government guidelines and ban loved ones from seeing her 25 residents. This has meant Mr Graffham, 71, has been unable to see his partner Veronica, also 71, since March 23.

Berengrove Park care home, Gillingham.
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pPicture Google Berengrove Park care home, Gillingham. Picture Google

Instead he said he has to make do with seeing her through a window or in a corridor at a social distance and accompanied by a carer.

Mrs Graffham, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was admitted to Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham, in December and later transferred to King’s College Hospital, London. When lockdown was introduced, she was moved to the nursing home and has been there ever since.

Mr Graffham is unable to look after her at their home in Prospect Place, Blake Avenue, Gillingham, as he cannot provide 24-hour care alone. When she was staying on the ground floor at Berengrove, he was able to communicate through a window, but this stopped when she was moved upstairs.

Medway Maritime Hospital Medway Maritime Hospital

He said: “I am finding this very upsetting.

When I can see her there is no privacy.” The former truck driver, who served in the Army, has twice been tested negative for Covid-19. Ms Sparks added: “We are doing our best to keep people informed, but we honestly don’t know what’s going on.

“We registered for the testing four weeks ago but have not heard a thing. I’m sure we are not the only care home in this situation. “I understand why people are getting upset, I really get it.

But our hands are tied.” In a report in the Sunday Times, a leaked memo stated ministers have scrapped a pledge to test all people in care homes regularly throughout the summer. The tests are now not due to start until September.

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