Sunday, 13 September 2020

The Welsh Government are relying too much on Westminster for Test and Trace.

 It is undestandable  that a council leader was left "furious" over restrictions to Covid-19 testing capacity as the Rhondda Cynon Taff struggles to avoid a local lockdown.

Andrew Morgan said a "huge effort" had to be made after learning that Wales was to be limited to only 60 tests.

There are UK-wide capacity issues due to rising demands on laboratories.

This from a thread of Tweets from Will Hayward political edidor of Wales Online

The centre in the Rhondda is a Lighthouse Lab one. Faced with the increased demand it seems that the UK Gov has decided to limit the amount of tests that testing centres can do.

In the Rhondda, the centre can do up to 500 a day. 

Late yesterday the UK Gov seems to have limited it to just 60. Following pressure from the Welsh Gov that was increased to 120.

Still woefully short of what is needed given the current situation in places like Porth.

When Serco reach 120 tests today they will leave. So the Welsh Ambulance Service, RCT Council and Cwm Taf HB have set up a temporary operation over night. Ambulance staff will do the tests and health board labs will test the sample

But there is still a problem. The UK Gov site for booking tests is unable to be amended to show the increased capacity that has been created. So it still shows just 120 slots. This means the council are asking people to attend the walk in without an appointment but....

 The problem with this is that too many people may attend (there are already queues) so the council is urging people to only come if they have symptoms and to maintain social distancing.

There are going to be 840 tests available over the weekend BUT this will fall massively on Monday when the Welsh Ambulance Service have to leave.

The Welsh Government said it scrambled to increase testing capacity after being left in a "deeply unsatisfactory position" on Friday night

A spokesperson said there would be sufficient tests for residents on Saturday and Sunday.

"Testing arrangements have also rapidly been put in place in the area by the health board working in partnership with the council and the Welsh Ambulance Trust," said the spokesperson.

"We are taking urgent steps to switch testing facilities to Welsh laboratories to increase capacity."

This is not good enough and certainly shows that if we place our trust in Westminster then we face being completely let down and surley the Welsh Government  and Public Health Wales , should be responsible for  such a response.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething told BBC Wales the Welsh Government found itself in a "deeply unsatisfactory position" on Friday night, as they learned the UK Government was planning to reduce capacity for all mobile testing units in Wales, down to 60 tests a day.

"That plainly doesn't meet our needs, but also the very short notice nature in which that decision had been made without any consultation with us," he said.

Mr Gething said mobile testing units were moved into the Rhondda to enable testing on Saturday, giving "an improved position with up to 300 tests now being available each day."

He added it had been "unsettling for people who needed a test and would have been anxious they would get a test the following day."

Mr Gething said he did not want the problem to re-occur next weekend and it needed a long term fix.

However we have months of lockdown and the ability to test, and yet we in Wales seem to face incompetence from the UK  Government with regards testing and a clear failure of the Welsh Government  to impliment its own testing system.

i am no expert , but  ia am baffled with the argument over availability laboratories .

This is one Test if we can establish the so called  "Nightingale Hospitals" , we could easily train via the Welsh NHS  people even with limited experience to carry out the test.

Also it seems to me that when an apparent cluster such as the Rhondda , appears, the test centre should not just concentrate on those who appear to have the system , but seek to sample the extent  and that means trying to randomly test people , meaning that you should aim to test over a thousand in a short time and seek to establish a percentage.

As  I said I am not an expert , but we have been in lock-down  since March and both the Westminster and Welsh Government , have so far failed to establish a efficient Task- and Trace system.

Whether the Welsh goverment failure is due to as  has happened in Porth , is due to relying on and following  Westminster is open to debate , but it is one we ned to have.

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