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Patients waiting up to three days for Covid-19 home test

By Mindo - 18th Sep 2020

20/3/20 ***NO REPRO FEE*** The swab test. These photographs were taken at the testing centre at Croke Park. A number of HSE staff feature in these photographs. Please note that this is not a real test and does not feature members of the public, the photographs were posed for illustrative and educational purposes only. Many people will need testing for Covid-19 over the coming months and a number of locations nationally are being used as testing centres. Croke Park is a testing centre in north Dublin. About testing: If you develop symptoms you will need to self-isolate and phone your GP. The people in your household need to restrict their movements. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, the GP will assess you over the phone. If they think you need to be tested for coronavirus, they will arrange a test. Waiting for a test doesn’t change how you manage your symptoms or interactions with other people. If you are waiting on a test to see if you have Covid 19 or you have been tested and are waiting for the results you need to stay home and self-isolate to prevent you spreading any potential infection to others. For factual, trusted advice and information on Covid-19, go to HSE.ie. Pic: Marc O’Sullivan

The current time for arranging a Covid-19 home test when the HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) has been notified of the request is two to three days, it has emerged.

Due to the significant rise in referrals for Covid-19 home testing, the HSE has seen an increasing demand on home testing system provided by the NAS, a HSE spokesperson confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI).

There are at least 300 requests for Covid-19 home testing every day, which is putting strain on the ambulance service.

GPs have reported concerns regarding reported lengthy waiting times for home Covid-19 tests for those unable to secure transport to a testing centre.

According to Dublin GP Ray Walley, home testing delays are occurring, but that where issues arise, the HSE is responding and addressing them “as best they can”.

“Overall, we are not doing bad in terms of transport. Once contacted the HSE try to transfer resources to respond to home testing requests.”

Monaghan GP Dr Illona Duffy recently tweeted concern that a family referred for Covid-19 testing were refused home testing, despite having no transport to access a testing centre.

Reports have also emerged of people being offered tests at centres up to one hour’s drive away. Patients with symptoms and who are offered a test are advised, where possible, to travel to centres alone due to the necessity to self-isolate.

A HSE spokesperson confirmed efforts are underway to address waiting times for Covid-19 home testing.

“The HSE is undertaking a number of actions to address this challenge in order to provide a sustainable long term plan.

“We would like to remind people that a request for a home test is based on clinical need only, and not just if they cannot travel to a static community test centre.”

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