‘I’m worried the system isn’t fit for purpose’ Fears over chaotic testing centre as patient is wrongly sent away

Around 3,000 people are now said to have been tested for coronavirus at the Copdock drive-through ce

Around 3,000 people are now said to have been tested for coronavirus at the Copdock drive-through centre Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised about the new drive through coronavirus testing centre at Copdock after a patient was wrongly denied a test.

A patient who had arranged to be tested at the Copdock testing centre for key workers was refused a test because they were not displaying symptoms despite having had a temperature just two days beforehand and having been in contact with a suspected case of Covid-19.

Under government guidelines anyone with a temperature above 37.8 degrees, or another coronavirus symptom, must self-isolate for seven days or until their temperature returns to normal and members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days. If a coronavirus test result comes back negative, the patient and their household no longer need to self-isolate.

MORE: Firm making vital PPE calls on government to fund production

A family member of the patient, who is a key worker, said: “I was astounded when I heard they weren’t tested because they fitted the criteria.

“I’m worried that the system isn’t fit for purpose and that other people will be turned away.”

The national testing effort is being led by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) but their messaging on testing asymptomatic patients is confused.

On Monday a DHSC spokesman said: “At the moment we only know that these tests are effective in people who are symptomatic. The chief medical officer’s guidance is very clear that asymptomatic testing is not recommended as it is could result in false negatives and give incorrect reassurance to those tested and their families.”

Find all of our coronavirus coverage here.

Most Read

This was contradicted a day later in the Downing Street press conference when both professor John Newton, the co-ordinator of the UK’s testing programme, and professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer confirmed that the test will detect the virus in people who are asymptomatic. Professor Newton said: “It’s obvious from the early studies that in settings where social distancing isn’t possible – particularly enclosed areas such as hospitals, care homes, or in prisons – there is a need to do extensive testing to try and understand how many people might be asymptomatic and carrying the virus.”

The DHSC has not responded to this newspaper’s request to clarify their position on testing asymptomatic patients.

Keep up-to-date with the latest news about coronavirus in Suffolk by joining our Facebook group or subscribing to our newsletter and podcast.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter