SCOTS care workers looking after the sick and elderly are still not getting regular Covid tests despite government promises, new research has found.

One in ​14 (seven per cent) of employees in residential care in Scotland, who look after people aged over 65 and those with dementia, say they have not had regular swab checks.

This fails to fulfil a Scottish Government pledge that care home staff would be tested every seven days for the virus.

The UK's largest union, Unison, which carried out the survey, said that delays and lack of access to testing for care employees could ​be putting both them and residents at "increased risk" of infection.

Jeane Freeman announced on May 18 that all 53,000 care home staff in Scotland would be offered weekly tests to help cut infections in homes, the site of over half of Scotland’s Covid deaths.

But official figures show that some 41,998 care home staff were tested in the last full week between November 30 and December 6.

The union said there should be a reliable monitoring system to ensure eligible staff are getting tested ​each week.

And it said that care home owners refusing to deliver proper Covid checks should be prosecuted.

It came after it emerged on Tuesday there were a further 24 coronavirus deaths recorded in Scotland bring the total during the pandemic to 4,135.

The Scottish Government also announced that 845 new cases of COVID-19 were reported overnight... bringing the infection numbers so far to 107,749.

According to the Unison survey Unison even those receiving ​regular checks are facing delays getting the results. ​ Over one in ten (11.3%) in Scotland waited more than 72 hours to learn if they were infected or not. Some even experienced hold-ups of more than a week – or did not get results back at all.

A​lmost a quarter (24%​) said this did not affect their work, but a small number had to take time off unpaid or ​were put on ​to statutory sick pay because of the long wait ​for results.

READ MORE: Scots care body registers 'lack of faith' in Covid testing system as lab issues lead to checks chaos

Unison which contacted over 2500 care workers in Scotland - including over 1000 in residential care homes - as part of a UK-wide survey said lessons "must be learned from ​ongoing issues with the testing process to ensure the vaccination rollout runs smoothly and all eligible care workers are immunised".

The survey also found that nearly half (49%) of care staff – among them, workers visiting people in their own homes – ​said they had been unable to get a test within the p​revious four weeks. Some 9.5% of respondents stated that no tests were available ​and 7.4% ​that they were only ​available at drive-through facilities​. Some discovered on arrival at their appointment ​that tests had run out.

Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Regular testing is essential to protect care staff and those they look after.

“It’s a major concern they’re ​still being let down. A repeat of what happened during the first wave must be avoided at all costs​.

“Delays and lack of access ​to testing is put​ting workers, their families, and the people who depend on them at risk. Employers can’t afford to have staff off work – and workers can’t afford the hit financially. “The government must get a grip on testing, honour its promises and ensure care staff have proper access to checks. ​Care staff will be hoping that the rollout of the vaccine happens much more smoothly."

Last week arapid testing trial began in Scottish care homes to allow visitors to see their loved ones within an hour of taking a Covid test.

Lateral flow tests were to be trialled at 14 care homes in five local authorities - North Ayrshire, Fife, Argyll and Bute, Inverclyde and Aberdeenshire - before the testing kits are sent out to homes across Scotland from December 14.

Lateral flow tests deliver results in under an hour as they do not have to be processed in a lab like other testing kits. Visitors who recieve a negative Covid result from the lateral flow tests are allowed to visit their loved ones while anyone who tests positive for the virus is sent home and advised to self-isolate.

But the tests have been criticised following a separate trial in Liverpool which found the rapid lateral flow testing kits can miss up to 50% of all cases.

The move comes a week after rapid testing kits were sent out to care homes across Britain.

The national roll-out of rapid tests means relatives who are free of Covid were allowed visits for the first time since March.

More than a million testing kits were sent out to almost 400 large care homes at the end of November and the first visits took place a week ago today.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our social care key workers are on the frontline of our national pandemic response and their work is hugely valued – that’s one of the reasons care home workers are such a high priority group for vaccination from Covid.

“It is crucial that they are able to access testing when needed, with results provided in a timely manner. Scotland has introduced weekly testing of care home staff since June, and more than 40,000 care home staff have been tested each week since 26 October.

“We have worked closely with the UK Government and have seen an improved picture in the turnaround time for care homes through the UK Lighthouse labs. We are continuing to migrate the routine testing of care home staff into NHS Scotland labs over the next few weeks, which will ease pressure on our share of the Network and give us more control over turnaround times.

“We have announced plans for significant expansion in testing – initially in areas of highest virus prevalence – for hospital admissions, health and social care staff. In social care, testing is already underway for designated visitors, visiting professional staff. Testing of care at home workers is scheduled to begin next month.”