3 Jul 2020

Covid-19 testing criteria still causing confusion among GPs

8:34 am on 3 July 2020

Some people are being refused testing at Auckland Covid community testing centres, even if Healthline has told them to get one.

COVID-19 Nasal swab laboratory test in hospital lab

Photo: 123RF

There has been ongoing confusion since testing criteria changed last week to prioritise people with symptoms who had had contact with overseas travellers or Covid cases.

Several people have been turned away by community testing centres (CBACs) - despite being sent there by Healthline or doctors.

Auckland's health authorities said the priority for testing centres was people who met the ministry's new Higher Index of Suspicion for Covid.

Lower risk people could still be swabbed but would have to be assessed by their GP or Healthline first, a spokesperson for the city's district health boards (DHB) said.

Westmere GP John Cameron also heard of people being refused tests at the CBACs.

There were mixed messages about just how much testing was needed to make sure Covid was not circulating, he said.

And different DHBs were interpreting the new testing plan differently.

"If we're not all singing from the same song sheet, the patients are the ones who get left out in the cold. So we need to make sure we give concise, total, no confusion information to the patients so they know what is going on," he said.

The spokesperson for Auckland's DHBs said they were working with the Ministry of Health to work out how to best target testing across the region.

Chris Hipkins who was appointed as the new health minister until the election in September said he planned to focus on testing and contact tracing from the get-go.

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