Five-hour round trip option for Covid test for poorly child branded ‘insane’
PUBLISHED: 05:30 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 18 September 2020
A key worker who was given the option of a five-hour round trip to get a Covid-19 test for her young daughter has described the system as “ridiculous”.
Samantha Stott, a teacher from west Suffolk, tried for hours to book a local test through the government website for her five-year-old daughter Isla, but only London was available which changed to Telford in Shropshire when she refreshed the page.
A trip to Telford from their home in Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, would be roughly a five-to-six-hour round trip.
Mrs Stott, 36, and her husband Chris, also a teacher, did not want to put their poorly child through a long journey so in desperation they drove to the Ipswich testing centre at Copdock only to be turned away.
This was despite there being “no-one in there” waiting for a test, she said she was told.
Mrs Stott said: “I felt it wasn’t fair. I just felt completely powerless. I was just stuck between a rock and a hard place. I wasn’t too worried about Isla [her condition]. I knew I wasn’t going to take her [to Telford].
“As a responsible parent you don’t put your sick child in a car and expect them to be alright for a five-hour round trip. I said to work if I can’t get a test close to home or a home test I’m not doing it.
“I felt it was a massive pressure, but I was going to dig my heels in.”
Isla had a temperature of 39.4C, which was brought down with Calpol, as well as a sore throat and just generally felt unwell.
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Mrs Stott added: “If you have a child in your car at 39.4C they could have a convulsion. What do you do then in the middle of nowhere? You are not going to do it. It’s absolutely insane.”
After continually checking the government website for a local test, later that day, September 8, the family managed to book a home test kit for Isla, which arrived the next day.
But conducting the test itself on their young child, which involves swabs of the tonsils, took almost two hours and left her feeling “traumatised”.
“It’s horrendous doing it on a five-year-old,” Mrs Stott said.
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Her result came back negative on Sunday, but in the meantime the family, including Isla’s seven-year-old brother Reuben, had to self-isolate, taking them all out of the classroom.
Mrs Stott spoke of the pressure of needing to be at work locally as a teacher.
“It’s horrible. You need to go to work, but you can’t go to work. There are all these people depending on you, but there’s nothing you can do.”
She said the government “need to explore other avenues” for testing.
“There are tests out there that are capable of being completed in eight to 10 minutes. The swabbing system is only 70% accurate. That’s not right is it?
“This is costly, time wasting and disruptive. It’s just ridiculous.”
Previously, the government’s Department of Health and Social Care said: “NHS Test and Trace is working and our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests including from people who do not have symptoms and are not otherwise eligible.
“New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for those who need them and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.”
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