Most people, perhaps thankfully, said they haven’t needed a test – or haven’t tried to access one. Let’s hope that’s because the near-53% of people reading had no symptoms, and not because they decided not to bother…
Almost 33% of people said that they hadn’t been able to access a test at all, despite trying.
Just over 10% of people said that they did get a test in Peterborough and received their results on time, as expected.
For 2.4% of people a test was accessible, but they had to travel to a different location, and 1.6% of respondents had booked a test but hadn’t received their results in the expected timeframe.
Peterborough City Council’s advice to people trying to book tests who have not been able to (or who have been offered an inconvenient time or location) is to wait for a few hours before trying again. For those experiencing symptoms, self-isolation should continue until a test has been taken and the results received.
On Sunday, Peterborough residents complained the nearest location they were being given for a test centre appeared to be in Scotland or Birmingham. At the same time, some residents waiting in queues at their local testing facility informed Peterborough Matters they had travelled from St.Ives and Chatteris.
Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, responded to the latest NHS Test and Trace figures, saying: “As it stands, many people cannot access tests at all, and those who can are having to wait longer for the results, or travel long distances to get tested in the first place.
“That includes health and care staff, which could jeopardise the ability to restore services and keep up with Covid-19 treatment. We must also avoid a situation where either A&E departments or GP surgeries are overwhelmed with people seeking tests.”
She said that as demand for testing is likely to rise, with an increase in Covid cases alongside the spread of other winter illnesses, it is “absolutely vital” that the government make test and trace efforts a “top priority”, particularly for healthcare staff.
The government confirmed that it has been drawing up a list of who will be prioritised for available tests.
Baroness Dido Harding, head of the NHS Test and Trace programme, said that hospital patients were the top priority, followed by social care and NHS staff. Those three categories account for around 50% of tests.
Following that, outbreak areas are then targeted most heavily.
Among the “broad general public”, Lady Harding said: “We are looking to prioritise, within that, key workers, particularly teachers.”
One of the widely accepted reasons for the rise in demand for tests is the return of children to school. As symptoms appear – even if it’s just a cough – students must be sent home and their families told to self-isolate in case the cause is Covid-19.