Coronavirus: Testing issues problem for York GP group

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Tang Hall Surgery, YorkImage source, Google
Image caption,
The group operate nine practices in York

A medical group has said staff absences due to difficulties in getting Covid-19 tests are impacting patient care.

Priory Medical Group runs nine surgeries in York and says it has had eight members of staff off in the last week alone.

The government has said it is tackling the issue and is planning to prioritise who gets a test.

The medical group says having staff off is creating a backlog of appointments.

"It is really having an impact both on our staffing and our ability to provide patient care," Dr Abbie Brooks, from the group, said.

Dr Brooks said if a member of staff or one of their family members has symptoms they have to self-isolate and cannot come into work.

"They are having delays in getting hold of swabs which then delays them getting back to work."

Dr Brooks said a GP off sick could still carry out video appointments as long as they were feeling well enough, but that did not apply to staff such as health care assistants.

"It means their clinics either have to get moved or completely cancelled which therefore impacts on our ability to give patients blood pressure checks, blood tests and dressing appointments."

She said there was no priority for primary care staff in testing.

"If we could get access to timely swabs we could get people back to work and be reassured they don't have coronavirus.

"NHS England and ultimately the government have to look into how primary care clinicians and non-patient facing staff get hold of swabs quickly so that the service doesn't come to a halt."

The Department for Health has been approached for comment.

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