I’ve been contacted by constituents about testing in Gloucester, and in particular about difficulties with getting appointments at Hempsted Meadows.
It is quite true the testing situation has changed, largely because of an increase in demand as schools went back. It is common for children to get snuffles at school, and understandably teachers are very cautious about any coughing. Checking a child’s temperature is one way of seeing whether there is a real sign of any COVID symptoms, and ringing 111 is always useful for other tips.
However, although we do more testing than any other European country, this increase in demand has put great pressure on the processing of tests in laboratories - and results are taking longer to come through.
That in turn means that residents absolutely have to book for tests (online or by calling 119 if you have a problem on the internet) before going to Hempsted Meadow, and because of this bottle neck you may have to wait to get an appointment or be told to go to another area.
In the meantime, depending on the situation, you must decide which is the best approach for you and your family:
- Ask for a home test
- Go to the nearest other site recommended
- Wait until a booking at Hempsted becomes available
If symptoms deteriorate while waiting for a test do contact your GP or 111 for further advice.
This situation is frustrating for us all and the 6 Gloucestershire MPs have raised this with the Department of Health, who are trying to resolve it as soon as possible. But I’m conscious that training new lab operators does take time and so believe an immediate improvement is unlikely.
It may be that the government will have to fine tune who goes for testing, which is another way of making sure that only those who really need to be are tested.
Meanwhile thank you for your patience and I’ll update this as I get more information.