More than 1,000 Covid-19 tests conducted since the start of the pandemic have been reported by the HSE as invalid, it has emerged.
According to the HSE, to date 1,081 tests have been returned as “invalid” or “inhibitory”. In September, there were 222 such results. Up to 30 October there were 217 invalid or inhibitory results.
“Sometimes the lab will be unable to get any result when it tests your sample. This is called an invalid or inhibitory result,” according to a HSE spokeswoman.
“Sometimes your sample may not give a clear result. This is called an indeterminate result. An indeterminate result means that the lab cannot tell for sure if you have Covid-19 or not. Indeterminate, invalid or inhibitory results are not common.
“If an individual receives a result of ‘invalid’ or ‘inhibitory’ they are advised to contact their GP and following consultation with their GP, may require retesting.”
The return of invalid or inhibitory results by the HSE has been accompanied without any advice to GPs on whether or not to schedule a re-test, it has been claimed.
Dr Illona Duffy, a Monaghan-based GP, told the Medical Independent a number of her patients recently received invalid Covid-19 test results, with no explanation from the HSE on whether or not to book a re-test for affected patients.
“There was a definite issue with tests on one day of testing here in Monaghan. We are aware of a minimum of six invalid tests all taken on the same day,” said Dr Duffy.
“Despite my contacting the HSE and public health nobody got back to me about these tests to explain why this happened. As usual it was left to us GPs to pick up the pieces.”
There have been no further invalid tests since, stressed Dr Duffy, who encouraged people to continue to come forward for testing.
According to the HSE website, if a patient get an indeterminate, invalid of inhibitory result and continues to have symptoms, they will be treated as if they have the virus.
“Phone your GP and ask them if you need to be tested again. They will decide based on how long it has been since your first symptoms and what your current symptoms are,” states advice on the website. “