Fears that there are not enough NHS staff to take care of patients are rising after the availability of PCR tests evaporated across the country, following “increases in demand”.
NHS staff who may have come in contact with a person who has the virus cannot work without a negative Covid-19 test.
As doctors, nurses and more are resident, there is concern that hospitals, general practitioners and nursing homes will go into ‘lockdown’ as there are ‘not enough staff to take care of patients’.
READ MORE:More than 800 ‘medically fit for discharge’ patients are still in hospital in the week leading up to Christmas
This morning (December 29) the government website showed that no PCR tests were offered in any regions of England or Northern Ireland, and home test kits were not available either.
Tonight, then Manchester Evening News , checked the website at. 17:00, there were still no PCR test sites with slots in the whole of England.
The nearest test site to Greater Manchester, with ‘very few available’ tests, was in West Glamorgan in south Wales.
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Home test kits now appear to be resumed, with some prioritized for essential workers.
However, as they are released during the reduced Christmas shipping period, this option may cause delays in getting results back – results that have already been set back by an increased demand for the number of tests being processed by laboratories in recent days.
Some municipalities hand out samples in their area where the kits can be picked up and completed at home.
The lack of PCR testing and subsequent delays in getting the results back are creating even more pressure on the NHS in the region, a doctor says.
“There are currently no tests available and the results take more than 48 hours, which means staff cannot return to work while waiting,” the GP said. Manchester Evening News .
“There are lots of people waiting for PCR results to return to work as a family member has tested positive.
“It gets worse.”
Meanwhile, infection rates across the country continue to grow as UK Covid cases hit a record high of 183,037 new infections, according to the latest update tonight.
Hospitals, GPs, along with other health and care environments, are already facing a list of problems – including lack of beds in the midst of an increase in Covid patients, a social care system unable to take hospital patients who being discharged, and an exhausted workforce.
The system also suffers from a dip in staff who go away due to their own illness or seizures of Covid as many are at a higher risk of getting the virus.
Now that more employees are confined to their homes while waiting for a test, surgeries, hospitals and nursing homes may be forced to “lock down,” the doctor claims.
“Nursing homes, hospitals and general practitioners can go on the block because staff test positive and there are not enough staff to take care of patients,” he added.
When there is an unusually high demand for home tests, the UK Health Security Agency says it is temporarily pausing the booking portal to check the flow of tests to laboratories.
A spokesman for the UK Health Safety Agency has said: “The UK’s test program is the largest in Europe with almost 400 million tests carried out since the start of the pandemic.
“We deliver a record number of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with almost 8 million test kits being made available to pharmacies between today and New Year’s Eve.
“We have made 100,000 more PCR bookings available a day since mid-December, and we continue to expand capacity rapidly – with over half a million tests performed on December 23 alone and doubling delivery capacity to 900,000 PCR and LFD test set a day.
“If you have not been able to get the test you need from gov.uk, keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available each day.”
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