04:50PM, Wednesday 16 September 2020
The COVID-19 testing facility in Slough used to be open to anyone with suspected symptoms, but is now operating by appointment only. Ref:132800-1
People suffering from possible symptoms of COVID-19 have not been able to get a test.
Throughout this week, people who have developed coronavirus-like symptoms, and those who have been required to get a test by their school or work, have not been able to book one.
Attempts by Maidenhead residents to schedule a test through the Government website have been met with a message that states: “This service is currently very busy.
“More tests should be available later. If you cannot book a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours.”
The message many Maidenhead residents are being greeted by when attempting to book a test.
The issue is being experienced by concerned people all across the country, who are unsure whether they
have the virus or not, but are unable to get it confirmed. Even the areas with the highest infection rates are experiencing the same issues.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, stated that the situation will improve in ‘a matter of weeks’.
He said: “We have seen a sharp rise in people coming forward for a test, including those who are not eligible.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised testing according to need. Over the summer when demand was low, we were able to meet all requirements for testing, whether priorities or not, but as demand has risen we are having to prioritise once again.
“I do not shirk from decisions about prioritisation. They are not always comfortable, but they are important.
“I think that we will be able to solve this problem in a matter of weeks.”
Speaking to the Advertiser on Tuesday, Cllr Stuart Carroll, the Royal Borough’s lead member for health, backed the Government.
He said: “We have seen a sharp rise in the number of people seeking a test, and that’s putting the system under immense pressure.
“Testing is critical, if some-one gets tested positive they can self-isolate, if they test negative they can continue to go about their business.
“The Government does need to follow through on what Matt Hancock said to make sure that supply can be met.”
Advising those who are showing symptoms but unable to get a test, Cllr Carroll added: “If you’re concerned you’re displaying symptoms and that you’ve got COVID, the crucial thing to do is to sit tight, self-isolate and follow the guidance stringently.”
Speaking on Twitter last week, Sarah-Jane Marsh,
NHS director of testing, explained why testing is slowing down despite many testing centres appearing to be empty.
She said: “Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present.
“All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, it's our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point.
“We are doing all we can to expand quickly.”
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