Tweet from David Lammy caught my attention(!)
"A constituent has just got in touch upset that the nearest drive-through COVID test a pupil in Tottenham has been offered is in Inverness. The result is they are being kept home from school. This is bonkers. The government needs to quickly explain and fix its approach to testing."
Anyone else tried to get a test locally ? What's your experience been? I feel like trying it out just for the hell of it.
Dido Harding paid zillions for this garbage service....
In mid August I was invited to have a test (no doubt for research purposes as I had no symptoms). I booked an online slot for a drive through centre. Three places were proposed. Kentish town somewhere near Stamford Hill and the LeaValley athletic centre. The first two had only a handful of timed slots available but Lea Valley had 570. In other words the place was deserted which indeed it was when i went there the same afternoon. Result in under 48 hours, negative. The worst aspect was the traffic congestion around Tottenham Hale.
I had a chesty cough n cold a few weeks ago. Doc sent me a prescription and told me to ring 119. They sent me a home test kit which arrived next day. Told to self isolate until results come through. Had to drop swap test (neighbour did that) at Green Lanes Post Office (designated), on a Friday. Got results by Tues a.m. Negative - it was all v simple, quick and efficient.
It's a mess. Both my kids developed coughs alongside cold symptoms over the weekend, school understandably doesn't want them in with a cough.
No tests available online at all or through the phone line (who confirmed that all they do is type in the same info as I had into the same online system): no home tests or walk-in/drive-in appts.
Followed what seemed a mad idea from Twitter to book a test anywhere (used my mum's Scottish postcode, booked into Inverness) and took the generated QR code to the walk-in in the Stanley Rd Car Park, Walthamstow. Staff were lovely and welcoming, I told them the truth and they were understanding.
They have been encouraging people to do the same in order to get a code. No queue, tested my kids myself with the kits, should get the results in 48h.
I don't like tricking the system but this is one is broken. This is going to be a long colds season and a nightmare for everyone working and/or with school-aged kids if this continues.
Part of the problem is that the labs are unable to cope with any rise in numbers. According to the FT there is presently a backlog of 200,000 tests to analyse. So it may well be that the testing centres are open and that they appear to be empty but they cannot do more tests because they cannot process them.
The headline figure of 375,000 tests a day which is so often quoted is the capacity for the labs and includes other tests such as Covid antibody tests. About 220,000 individual tests are being carried out each day however Hugh Pym on the BBC reported this morning that some people have two tests and it includes repeats. The real figure for the number of people who are tested daily to diagnose Covid-19 remains at 100,000.
Because they are unable to test everyone who has Covid-19 symptoms we do not know how many people now have Covid. Because front line workers, including those in care homes and schools cannot get tests we are again seeing those services starting to struggle. As you say Hugh "what a rotten time to have such an incompetent government".
I wondered how someone with so little experience in Health and Social Care , ( “I have not worked in health and social care and would be the first to admit I have a lot to learn about the sector,”2017) with a track record of so many disastrous appointments (Thomas Cook, Woolworths, Talk Talk etc) managed to get this job. Ah yes 2014-"Dido’s old university chum David Cameron gives her a seat in parliament as a Tory peer." This country is being run by a privileged and incompetent clique, no wonder its a shambles.
I would however also put the last 10 years of NHS and Social Care cuts, together with privatising and outsourcing NHS services in the firing line; and now we have paid £10 billions (contracts not published) to the private 'Track and Trace' firms Serco, Capita, Sitel) and they have been hopeless. Not to mention the private testing labs outsourced to the likes of Deloitte who are now asking the NHS to help them out of the chaos they have caused. The NHS meantime has not been given the mega budgets and support but has been working much more efficiently at local 'Track and Trace' and Covid testing in their own labs, at times with their hands tied behind their backs.
Hold tight for a difficult winter!
Unfortunately I got a puncture on Monday and had to limp into the nearest capark. It was at the Lea Valley centre and testing site. Again there seemed to be no rush of people waiting to be tested.
I suppose as cases rise demand increases. The test kits have to be purchased to the demand they might estimate wrongly. They have to be manufactured & put together. At any stage something might be delayed. Then the analysts have to keep up.
I was invited to take a test via the King's College Zoe App system as I was experiencing unusual symptoms in the middle of August. I got online at about 8.30 am, & got one delivered by post the next afternoon. I took the test immediately & got it in the nearest designated priority post box, fortunately at the end of my road, about 30 mins before collection (I think they state it needs to be an hour, I suppose in case they come early). The test was analysed the following day & I got the result by text 2 days later, a Sunday morning at 6.25 am, so they're far from shirking their duties. My brother did one too, but he was in an area where a courier would come to collect it.
Who's the "they"? The labs and testing centres are doing the job that they are being given the resources to do as best they can. The Government on the other hand is handling this so unbelievably badly I struggle to think how anyone could think they were not shirking their duties, and that's putting it mildly.
My husband had a Zoe COVID app test in the same circumstances around that date too, and had a similar experience. But an awful lot has changed since mid-August, most significantly schools and Universities have gone back, and that's allowed a lot of parents to go back to work, wherever that may be. So demand has hugely - and predictably - risen massively as people try to keep themselves and others safe, but also conduct their business and keep schools open.
For what it's worth, my kids' test as carried out Monday lunchtime and the results were emailed and texted to me around 36h later. Clearly demand and processing speed is very variable across the country, but again, those with the data know this and could be sharing this info with us.
Donna, to whom are you asking "Who's the they?", please?
It seems to be me, as you mention a Zoe App test date, but I agree with you.
When I wrote 'they' it was in the same sentence as referring to the test analysis, so for me 'they' are the test analysts. I found it extraordinarily admirable that I was sent a text at 6.25 am on a Sunday, although the network could have delayed it.
I do think that the whole sourcing & purchasing of the tests, failing what should have been expected capacity requirements, given the scenario earlier this year, has been completely mismanaged - & that's down to our incompetent government.
Many of the questions in this thread are answered in yesterday's Select Committee hearing. That many of the questions and comments of both MPs and posts here are based on false and/or illogical assumptions is not surprising. Especially given the lack of appetite from the media and its consumers to listen to and address the facts. There has been a significant failure in matching the supply of tests with demand. There are multiple and complex reasons for this. Spend an hour of your time to listen to the Q&A.