Delays in PCR tests must be tackled

17 November 2021

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has called on government to outline its plan to clear the backlog in PCR tests. Deputy Smith said people must be getting confirmatory PCR tests as soon as possible rather than waiting a number of days to even get a test in the first instance.

Deputy Smith said:

“The increase incidence rate of Covid in the community has brought the PCR system under extreme pressure. At the moment, many availability at our self referral test centres are booked out and people are having to wait days for an appointment to even get a test. This is unacceptable given the trajectory of the virus. The HSE have completed 197,252 tests in the last 7 days which is an extraordinary amount but even with that level of capacity is now at breaking point.

“There are times when there are no appointments available for two days. People are having to wake up early to get ahead of the rush and book an appointment, like they would for concert tickets. This is a ridiculous situation. We’re talking about people’s health in the middle of a pandemic. It’s clear that testing centres are currently under resourced and unable to deal with the latest surge in covid cases.

“This needs to be addressed by government as a priority. Testing and tracing has always been fundamental to preventing community spread, particularly in health care settings and workplaces. We are facing another crunch point in our Covid journey and we need to ensure the fundamentals are in place to protect people.”

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