A WOMAN has hit out at the government’s ‘inconsistent advice’ after her father was refused a test for coronavirus - despite presenting with most of the deadly illness’s symptoms.
Colin Booth, 81, had a cough, temperature and was becoming confused.
His family phoned 111 and an ambulance was sent to his home on Kingsway, Mapplewell, before he was taken to Barnsley Hospital after paramedics believed he had the virus.
“The paramedics were great,” said Colin’s daughter Rachel Booth, who lives in Southampton. “Because I couldn’t be with him they were ringing me every so often to keep me updated with what was happening and they informed me that they were taking him to hospital because he had many symptoms of the virus.”
However, once at the hospital Colin was refused a coronavirus test as government guidelines stipulated he was not ill enough to receive one.
“He was in hospital for four hours and the doctor told me they couldn’t test him for the virus because they weren’t keeping him in the hospital or sending him to a care home for observation,” added Rachel, 54. “The doctor sounded really apologetic, and it’s not their fault, they are bound by what the government says.
“I just think it’s ridiculous that my dad had symptoms and he wasn’t eligible for a test because his symptoms weren’t ‘bad enough’.
“The government keep saying they are testing people but my dad is a prime example of how they aren’t doing that.”
Rachel ordered her dad an at-home test which she said would be impossible for him to access himself.
“You have to order the test online which is something he would struggle to do,” said Rachel. “I think this is a barrier for many older people because they aren’t familiar with computers and it may put them off from accessing a test.
“Also the test itself is quite difficult to administer, you have to swab the back of your throat and many people may find that difficult to do. There’s a high number of false negative responses which in itself is worrying because people could have the virus, not know and pass it on.”
Rachel wants to urge the government to alter the guidelines surrounding who can be tested and has written to her local MP and the Prime Minister to help convey her message.
“My dad was in a medical setting for four hours and was told he couldn’t be tested and instead he had to rely on us to get a home test, which there is no guarantee that he has done correctly.
“He is lucky that he has family who can assist him with getting a test, but what about the people with no family or anyone there who can help them? Who will help them when their symptoms aren’t bad enough to be tested?”
A spokesman for Barnsley Hospital said everyone over five years old could now be tested if they have symptoms of Covid-19, in line with new government guidelines.
“The emergency department is not the place patients should attend to have a test, as this can cause a delay for people who need urgent medical help.
“In A and E, we can only test patients who are actually being admitted to the hospital. If people think they need a test, they should use the service on the NHS website.
“The hospital has put in place robust arrangements in its emergency department to protect staff and patients during the outbreak. The arrangements include a system in operation at the front door of the emergency department to separate suspected Covid-19 patients and non Covid-19 patients.”
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Test refused as pensioner’s symptoms weren’t ‘bad enough’
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