Greens reveal coronavirus testing postcode lottery

3 August 2020

  • Data shows Cardiff test results take on average up to 34 hours longer than Milton Keynes
  • Freedom of Information request shows worrying disparity across country, and gaps in the Department for Health’s information
  • Jenny Jones: “Our testing system should not be a complete postcode lottery”

People taking coronavirus tests face a worrying postcode lottery in the time it takes to get results, with some parts of the country waiting on average up to 34 hours longer than others, the Green Party can reveal.

Data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the longest delay was in Cardiff where people had to wait an average of 45 hours. [1]

The second longest delay was in Wembley, London, where people waited an average of 33 hours, and Lincoln had the third longest wait with 24 hours.

Meanwhile, those with the shortest wait were Milton Keynes, Glasgow and Llandudno with average times of 11, 12 and 13 hours respectively.

The data shows four of the testing sites, including the Nightingale Excel Walk In, are taking on average longer than the target set by Boris Johnson of 24 hours. [2]

Green Party peer Jenny Jones said:

"Our testing system should not be a complete postcode lottery with over a full day's difference in waiting time for results between some regional testing centers. 

“We need Johnson to meet his commitment for all tests to be returned well under 24 hours, and we must level up all testing sites to the highest possible standards of efficiency."

The FOI request also revealed that the Department of Health had no records on how many results of tests are unsuccessfully returned to those who took the tests. 

Wales Green Party leader Anthony Slaughter said: 

“At a time when lockdown measures have been significantly relaxed across Wales, the news that the average time taken to receive Covid- 19 test results in Cardiff is forty five hours is a deeply worrying failure on the part of Public Health Wales. 

“This unacceptable delay is endangering public health and reducing the efficiency of any attempts at a meaningful Test, Track and Isolate strategy.”

Caroline Russell, Green Party London Assembly member, said:

“As we are being encouraged back to city centres and to reopen more parts of the economy, it’s worrying to hear there are such disparities in the time taken to return test results. 

“Every hour counts as we try to stay on top of the virus and contact the people who have been in touch with confirmed cases so they can isolate to keep others safe. 

“It’s not fair to affected communities if the time taken to get test results is letting down the track and trace system.”

ENDS

Notes

1

The data provided was for the period 6 July 2020 to 12 July 2020 inclusive. It refers to the median hours from the time of test to the time of result communicated.

By RTS Site

ACF Code

Site Name

Median Hours

DFW

RTS - Cardiff City Football Club

45.13

WEM

RTS - Wembley

33.09

LNC

RTS - Lincoln

24.63

NGE

RTS - Nightingale Excel Walk-in

24.09

LEE

RTS - Leeds

23.31

LEI

RTS - Leicester

22.66

MDE

RTS - Birmingham Smethwick

22.24

STK

RTS - Stoke

22.13

NTM

RTS - Nottingham

22.09

HUL

RTS - Hull

22.03

DEE

RTS - Deeside

21.93

BRM

RTS - Birmingham Edgbaston

21.57

YOR

RTS - York

21.52

STA

RTS - Stafford

21.50

BRA

RTS - Bradford

21.36

TEL

RTS - Telford

21.26

IOW

RTS - Isle of Wight

21.08

DNE

RTS - Doncaster Airport, Sheffield

20.97

SHF

RTS - Sheffield

20.94

NOT

RTS - Nottingham Motorpoint

20.91

WRE

RTS - Worcester

20.76

COV

RTS - Coventry

20.75

PRE

RTS - Preston College

20.43

BLA

RTS - Blackburn

19.64

RMA

RTS - Ramsgate

19.32

PYE

RTS - Plymouth

19.27

SAL

RTS - Salisbury

19.12

CPR

RTS - Bournemouth

19.09

DCR

RTS - Derry City Rugby Club, Londonderry

18.98

GLO

RTS - Gloucester

18.97

BLE

RTS - Belfast Odyssey Arena

18.95

ENN

RTS - Enniskillen

18.84

WOB

RTS - Abercynon

18.83

EXE

RTS - Exeter

18.81

TAU

RTS - Taunton

18.66

NEW

RTS - Newbury

18.63

TIP

RTS - Portsmouth

18.59

POR

RTS - Portadown

18.56

EBV

RTS - Ebbw Vale

18.34

BRE

RTS - Bristol Airport

18.24

SWI

RTS - Swindon

17.94

HYE

RTS - Haydock Race Course

17.90

GWE

RTS - Gatwick Airport

17.22

ABE

RTS - Aberdeen Airport

17.20

MCM

RTS - Manchester Airport

17.05

IVE

RTS - Inverness

16.92

HEA

RTS - Heathrow

16.82

SLO

RTS - Slough

16.74

LIV

RTS - Liverpool Airport

16.41

LVE

RTS - Edmonton Lee Valley

16.33

MES

RTS - Manchester Etihad Stadium

16.27

PRS

RTS - Prestwick

16.22

AFE

RTS - Ashford

16.12

GUD

RTS - Guildford

16.10

PBO

RTS - Peterborough

15.99

PFK

RTS - Penrith

15.98

PER

RTS - Perth

15.88

CAM

RTS - Cambridge

15.87

EBB

RTS - Ebbsfleet

15.79

NWE

RTS - Newcastle Great Park & Ride

15.74

CHE

RTS - Chessington

15.70

NRW

RTS - Norwich

15.48

SAE

RTS - Stansted Airport

15.33

OXP

RTS - Oxford Parkway

15.26

TWE

RTS - Twickenham Stadium

15.14

BGE

RTS - Brighton

15.06

GRE

RTS - Greenwich

14.66

IWE

RTS - Ipswich

14.54

EDE

RTS - Edinburgh Airport

14.22

TPR

RTS - Oxford

14.09

WEL

RTS - Welwyn Garden City

14.07

DWR

RTS - Llandudno Coach Park

13.58

GLM

RTS - Glasgow Airport

12.59

MKE

RTS - Milton Keynes

11.31

 

2

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-johnson-covid-tests-24-hours-by-end-of-june_uk_5ed76617c5b6a209e0b9dc16

 






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