Furious GP brands Government "disgraceful" for blaming parents over testing scandal

17 September 2020, 20:45 | Updated: 17 September 2020, 20:59

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

This furious GP branded the Government "disgraceful" for blaming parents for the testing scandal, grading their pandemic response with a "D minus."

Dr Sarah Jarvis told LBC that "every GP in the country" is aware about the significant increase in the number of children getting sick just weeks after they return to school - something which happens each year - and that the Government should have been prepared for an increase in requests for Covid-19 tests.

She said: "We know that the moment schools go back, the number of children who get coughs and colds and runny noses goes through the roof.

LBC presenter Eddie Mair challenged the idea that every doctor could have known about the increase and asked why the head of the Test and Trace system, Dido Harding, said the increase was "unexpected" at a committee on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, Dido Harding has absolutely no experience whatsoever in health, but she was being advised by the Chief Medical Officers and by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies)," she replied.

"As a GP I can tell you that as duty doctor I can see an entire surgery or have an entire list full of parents with kids who've got snotty noses or who want to know if they need to bring them in."

The Government has blamed people with symptoms for causing a surge in test requests
The Government has blamed people with symptoms for causing a surge in test requests. Picture: LBC/PA Images

Looking back at the early stages of the pandemic, Dr Jarvis said it was "disgraceful" for the Government to blame care home staff for its own failures and compared it to how ministers are blaming parents for turning up at testing sites when they do not have symptoms.

"I don't think there's any question that people are going and having tests when they do not need tests, but that's because they are confused," she said.

"Nobody is going to spend eight hours on the phone or on the computer trying to get hold of the result, finally get a test 100 miles away, drive them and their entire family there to get swabs stuck up their noses just because they feel like it.

"Yes, there are a few people who go 'let's get a test before I go on holiday because I've been told I need to and I don't want to pay for it', but the vast majority of cases is that one child will have symptoms and the family are not aware that they should not get tested - the child or the one person with symptoms should get tested.

"The rest of the family should not get tested - they need to self-isolate until the end of 14 days."

It follows outrage at thousands of people being turned away at tests sites across the country as the system struggles to cope with a surge in demand for tests.

Read more: 'Hundreds' turned away from Catford test site after QR code 'shambles'