@T.R.O.Y. wrote:Get tested when you land in Rome and results in half an hour.
Dido Harding the Head of Test and Trace today saying: 'No one was expecting to see such a big rise in demand' for testing?!
Anyone left thinking this government is anything other than incompetent?
It's simply not as black and white as the headlines suggest when you drill down into what the problems really are.
I thought this was a very fair account as to the issues - an extract below -
"And once we dig down more into this data, it becomes clear why tests have had to be rationed.
Nearly all the community testing is processed at one of five mega-labs. Back in August it was clear they were close to capacity - in fact all the testing capacity was used up on 23 August.
And this goes to the heart of the problem.
These labs were built in super-quick time. Ministers often refer to it as the biggest diagnostic testing expansion in history. That is because the UK had very few diagnostic testing facilities of this type. So it chose to centralise the system at these large labs and has worked with a variety of partners, including private companies and universities, to run them.
What's going on in the labs?
Prof Gordon Dougan, from the University of Cambridge, says it is not surprising they have run into problems and struggled to increase capacity to keep pace with demand. Despite "valiant efforts, the system is not robust enough" and is vulnerable to failure at multiple levels from sourcing equipment to finding the right staff, he says.
It is understood that one of the biggest limitations is hiring enough qualified people to carry out the tests.
This has become a particular issue as academics and post-graduate students have returned to their usual roles. Labs have been unable to offer academic staff contracts. More experienced staff have had to go back to their institutions.
This has led to Prime Minister Boris Johnson writing letters to universities asking them to lend their staff and students for a little longer. It's not clear how many, if any, have agreed to this.
In order to process more tests, labs will need more space, machines and people. This is happening, but it seems not fast enough to keep up with demand.
Lab capacity is being increased. A sixth mega-lab in Newport is in the process of opening. A seventh near Loughborough will follow suit in the coming weeks.
This should have a big impact on capacity. But meanwhile, the government has said it will have to prioritise - that means making sure hospitals, care homes and areas with outbreaks can get access to testing.
Even when these new labs are fully up and running, there are concerns demand will still outstrip supply. Cases of coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses are going up, so it seems inevitable more people will be seeking access to tests.
An analysis by Health Data Research UK warned that if just 80% of people with annual coughs and fevers applied for a test, capacity could be exceeded for the whole winter.
Problems getting hold of tests could be a persistent problem in coming months.
Full article here -