By Susie Coen Investigations Reporter For The Daily Mail
Published: 23:27 BST, 20 September 2020 | Updated: 07:21 BST, 21 September 2020
Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Managers say the system is so 'shambolic' they fear further fatal outbreaks.
With Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning that a virus 'tipping point' is approaching, the care bosses demanded a much quicker turnaround.
The Mail spoke to 19 providers which together run 393 homes. Staff or residents tested positive at a third of the chains over the past fortnight and in most cases results came late.
Nine said they had to throw away tests after couriers did not turn up on time. One had to ditch 250 swabs in a week.
Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington
Homes need quick results if they are to halt an outbreak.
Several providers had to wait as long as 15 days and in some cases heard nothing back from laboratories. Results should be processed within 24 hours but the supposedly 'world- beating' system has been overwhelmed.
In other developments:Downing Street warned that Britain was 'in the last-chance saloon' with fresh restrictions coming in days if existing rules are not followed; Chief medical officer Chris Whitty is to give a televised address declaring the UK is 'heading in the wrong direction'; Overcrowded pubs and restaurants will be shut down on the spot, with police encouraged to carry out checks; Mr Hancock suggested that millions of Londoners could be told to work from home this week in a toughening up of restrictions in the capital; Experts warned that lockdown-style restrictions that discourage eating out and returning to the office would cost the economy up to £250million a day; A further 3,899 cases were confirmed in the UK yesterday, taking the seven-day average to a four-month high
Nadra Ahmed, who is executive chairman of the National Care Association, said the testing chaos was 'one of the Government's greatest failings'.
She added: 'I can't believe they didn't envisage that there would be an increase in demand for tests and results in a timely manner as lockdown was eased.
'We can't deal with a postcode lottery at this critical time. As it stands, it is utterly chaotic, shambolic and a disgrace.'
Care home boss Mark