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NHS Test and Trace returns just 15% of Covid test results within 24 hours

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There has been a sharp drop in the number of Covid-19 test results that are returned swiftly, the latest NHS Test and Trace data has revealed.

During the second week of October (8-14th) one third (33.4%) of in-person test results were received the next day after the test was taken, compared with 68.3% the previous week.

And just 15.1% of in-person test results were received within 24 hours after the test was taken, compared with 32.8% the previous week.

In total, 1,729,565 Covid tests were processed during the week, up 3% from the week before.

Of these, 101,494 people tested positive – an increase of 11,000 on the week before.

But NHS tracers reached just 80.7% of them to ask them to isolate, and 75.1% of their contacts where details were given.

Interim Executive Chair of the National Institute for Health Protection Baroness Dido Harding acknowledged the problem with turnaround times for test results.

She said: ‘Reducing turnaround times is our absolute priority to make sure we are reaching people as soon as possible. We always need to balance ensuring as many people as possible can get a test alongside ensuring test results are delivered as quickly as possible, and as capacity continues to grow at pace, we expect to see improvements.’

Last week, Labour MP Catherine McKinnell called for GPs and local health services to be handed the keys to run the NHS test and trace system, as their ‘local expertise’ and knowledge will mean they ‘can do a better job’.

But the RCGP has said that GPs should not be ‘a replacement for a centralised testing system’.