Patients who were instructed by their GPs to perform a Covid test have been turned away at test sites, even if there is enough capacity due to problems with laboratory processing.
Up to 200 people a day were denied a test at a center in Stoke after Whitehall officials limited the number of people they could manage.
Officials there said that even people referred by their GP were told they could not be tested if the quota was met.
In the meantime, some sites are only operating at a fifth of their capacity as the laboratories have difficulty processing the results.
It so happens that more people than ever are having to wait three days or more to find out if they have coronavirus after a personal test in England.
Some sites (Burnley in the picture) are only working at a fifth of their capacity because the laboratories have difficulty processing the results
More people than ever before are having to wait three days or more to find out if they have coronavirus after a personal test in England (the Burnley test site pictured).
Thursday's NHS test and trace data showed that members of the public who conduct swab tests at drive-through locations or pop-up local and mobile centers are increasingly having to wait.
& # 39; Lighthouse Lab & # 39; delays the opening by a month
A superlab that is expected to process 50,000 tests per day had to delay opening.
The Charnwood site near Loughborough, one of the “lighthouse laboratories”, will not open for another month.
The laboratories are at the center of government plans to advance testing and processing of the results.
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs bragged in a press release last month that the laboratory would be open "at the end of September".
However, there are no staff on the site and respondents were told that they won't be needed until the last week of October, according to the Times.
Meanwhile, another lighthouse lab has not yet opened in Newport, having been slated for August, but is not expected to open until this month.
Public Health Wales pointed at recruiting issues and not enough tests to verify the lab's processing operations.
A health ministry spokesman said: “NHS Test and Trace is offering unprecedented levels of testing – an average of 240,000 a day over the last week – more than any major country in Europe with more tests per capita.
"With new lighthouse laboratories in Newport, Newcastle, Bracknell and Charnwood, we are rapidly expanding testing capacity to meet our target of 500,000 per day by the end of October."
Numerous people were turned away on the Stoke website as only a few could be tested who had not booked online.
A staff member told the Times, "Sometimes when we hit that threshold – i.e. the maximum, even if they came with that GP letter, we couldn't let them in."
Another said that when a family came with a sick child, you really should say, "Well, I appreciate he's not doing very well. Have you tried booking a test on the internet?"
They added that even if the person claimed to have tried a test for three days, they should be turned away.
The Stoke site ran 500 tests per day per point, but is now following a quota.
On one day of the last week, only 100 people were tested by 5 p.m., the following day 260.
Whitehall caps on test numbers that started last month seem to be reflected across the system, as social media users also report being turned away from websites.
Liz Martin from London tweeted: “Tests are not available and people are turned away. I haven't even been able to get a key worker lately. & # 39;
The Barking and Dagenham Council wrote, “We have learned that the Covid test sites at B&D are very busy and only a few walkable slots are available on a daily basis.
"Don't get stuck in a queue or waste time going there only to be turned away. It's best to book online or call 119."
Another report wrote, "I've had at least 4 different people tell me the same story, in which someone they know went to a testing center, the details of which were given, and who was turned away because they were too busy."
A week later, everyone receives a letter saying that they are positive about Covid. A swab was never taken. & # 39;
Andrew Wood, Advisor to Canary Wharf, added, “Serious Issues at Watney COVID Testing Center I have seen a number of people being turned away for not pre-booking. I asked the nice security guard how many to turn away (30% he said).
& # 39; He said and family doctors falsely told people that they could just show up and be tested.
“He told them to go online. Someone needs to put up a poster reminding people how to book, including calling 119 outside to help and give the security guard an appropriate mask (security guards have one of the highest infection rates in the country). & # 39;
The test capacity cap is reportedly being used to ease pressure on the floundering lighthouse labs.
One of the network's new locations in Charnwood, Leicestershire, has delayed opening by a month.
It was supposed to open in late September but won't work until later this month.
When the website, operated by the US company PerkinElmer for the UK government, opens, it will process 50,000 tests a day.
Meanwhile, another lighthouse in Newport has missed its opening date in August and won't run until November.
To increase the number of tests processed, the government has now announced that it will be working with universities and smaller private laboratories.
But it has again raised doubts that the prime minister's goal of having 500,000 tests a day by the end of October can be achieved.
NHS test and trace data shows that 1.7 million tests were processed in the week ended September 23, up from 1.6 million the week before.
The five lighthouse laboratories and NHS sites are expected to process 1.8 million at full capacity.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs told MailOnline: & # 39;
& # 39; These claims do not reflect the enormous amount of work that is being done in a system that we have built from the ground up into the largest diagnostic network in British history.
& # 39; New booking slots are being made available daily for those who need them and we are rightly targeting testing capacity in the areas where it is most needed, including areas where there is an outbreak, and prioritizing risk groups .
& # 39; NHS Test and Trace is continuously increasing capacity and can now process over 320,000 tests per day. However, we have seen significant demand for testing, including from people who have no symptoms.
"We recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster and expand testing capacity in the UK to 500,000 per day by the end of October."
Even so, more people than ever have to wait three days to get their test results back.
Of the 155,000 people who used local test sites between September 17 and 23, 5.3 percent had to wait more than 72 hours to find out their result. That was an increase of just 1.8 percent a week ago.
The same trend was seen in regional drive-through locations and in mobile test units, with these three locations now accounting for the majority of public testing.
However, improvements were being made in other parts of the system at the same time, with return times decreasing for people tested in nursing homes and at home. The proportion of people who receive their results within 24 hours of a “personal test” also rose from 28.2 percent to 38.1 percent.
Statistics show that the number of people who tested positive for the disease hit a new high in the penultimate week of September. 31,373 confirmed cases, up 61 percent from 19,488 people the week before.
The test system has come under tremendous pressure in the past few weeks as Covid-19 cases have spiked across the country and more sick Britons are calling for swabs.
The Ministry of Health confirmed Thursday that one in eight in England had a Covid-19 test – a total of 7.1 million people.
Officials gave some of the pressure to people who ordered tests if they were technically ineligible.
However, statistics show that the number of people suffering from the disease every day has more than tripled since early September.
Test and trace statistics show that 5.3 percent of people who participated in regional drive-through test centers (4,845 out of 91,185) waited 72 hours or more for their result after the test. That was up 1.7 percent a week ago.
The three-day limit is the limit in the event that officers no longer measure how long a result took. Each test lasts 24 hours. 24-48 hours; or 72+ hour category.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised earlier this year that all tests would return their results within 24 hours, but the target is out of reach.
In mobile test units set up in areas with infection rates, 6.5 percent of people (7,852 out of 120,064) waited three days or more.
However, the proportion of people who wait over three days has shrunk for satellite tests – which are mostly done in nursing homes – and for home kits.
At satellite test centers, the waiting time fell from 72 hours from 72.2 percent to 41.6 percent in mid-September.
The number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England rose 61 percent in the week ended September 23 to more than 31,000 from 19,000 the week before
The average time it takes to get a result for a coronavirus test after ingestion is now falling after the summer surge
For home test kits, it fell from 55.2 percent to 19.8 percent.
Together, these two categories accounted for more than half of the swab tests, but more than 400,000 were satellite tests that are generally not available to the public.
In more promising news, the Test & Trace data showed that the proportion of people who had a personal test performed increased within 24 hours.
About 38.1 percent of people who were tested for Covid-19 in the week up to September 23 in England at a regional location, a local location or a mobile test unit – a so-called "personal" test – received within this time their result framework.
That was a 28.2 percent increase from the previous week and follows weeks of problems with people accessing tests.
The best performance since the program began was in the week ended July 1, when 94.3 percent of personal test results were returned within 24 hours.
However, last week only 2.9 percent of people in England who used a home test kit for Covid-19 got their result within 24 hours, up from 1.8 percent in the previous week.
Around 30.4 percent of people received the result of a home test within 48 hours, compared to 11.3 percent in the previous week.
Thursday's data also showed that 71.6 percent of the close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 were achieved through the test and trace system.
That's a 76.3 percent decrease from the previous week, but it's above the 69.9 percent for the week ended September 2, the lowest weekly value to date.
In cases handled by local health protection teams, 97.6 percent of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate, compared with 64.3 percent for cases handled either online or by call centers.
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