Coronavirus: Key workers and families share their struggles to get COVID-19 tests

People from across the country have shared their struggles to get a COVID-19 test.

Key workers and parents of young children have told Sky News they have been asked to travel hundreds of miles to get a test – or been forced to stay at home due to a lack of testing capacity.

Centres across the UK have been turning people away after a backlog at laboratories caused testing to come to a halt.

‘The whole thing is a complete lottery’

Amy Ferguson, a civil servant from Southampton, spent 24 hours over the weekend trying to get a test for her husband who is a police officer.

She called the process an “absolute shambles”.

The 39-year-old added: “I was refreshing the page every 10 minutes, and even tried through the night.

“I had a keyworker verification code from the police but this made no difference.

“Eventually the option for a postal test came up and this arrived yesterday.

“It would be incredibly difficult for an unwell person to understand and do themselves.”

Amy fears that even if the result turns out to be negative, her children aged four and seven could miss more than a week of school.

She added: “My friend managed to get a test in Portsmouth.

“The whole thing seems to be a complete lottery.”

‘This has been a massive fail’

Care worker Linda Shipley told Sky News test results for staff at the home in which she works had been delayed, leading to safety fears.

The 57-year-old, from Malton in North Yorkshire, said: “We test once a week but I’ve been waiting since last Tuesday for my results and still not got them. I’m due another test this week.

“We want the best to protect us and our residents.

“This has been a massive fail. It’s a systematic failure by the government.”

Booked in for a test 546 miles away

Khilen Rughani, 36, from Hatch End, North West London, was forced to shell out £110 on a private test for his five-year-old son who developed a cough over the weekend.

The physiotherapist, who is a key worker, has been stuck at home unable to go to work and see patients while he awaits the result of the test.

He said he contacted NHS 111 and was told there were no tests available.

After numerous attempts he was told he could take his son to a testing centre in Aberdeen – more than 546 miles away.

He said: “The school’s policy is you can’t send them in unless they have a COVID negative test.

“The trouble is this is the season where young kids get coughs and colds.

“We were told we could go to a testing centre in Aberdeen. But the rules say you shouldn’t be leaving home, let alone travel to Scotland with a five-year-old.

“I paid £110 to have the test done privately but that’s a one-off. It’s not fair to have to pay.

“If my child gets sick again I can’t keep doing that. It’s not even the winter season. What’s going to happen in December?

“Children can’t be off school for two weeks every time they pick up a cough.”

‘I am still waiting on a result’

Lee Mason from Dundee told Sky News he fell ill late on Friday, and by Sunday morning his temperature was 38.5C.

He said: “I called the COVID helpline and tried to book a test online and it said there only home tests available, then once I completed the online application it got to the end and said ‘sorry not available’.

“I spoke with the COVID team on the phone and got a test booked.

“But after being tested on Sunday at 10am I am still waiting on the result.”

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