Minister pledges to improve access to Covid testing ‘via non-digital routes’

Written by Sam Trendall on 10 December 2020 in News
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Users are encouraged to use online platform, but DHSC insists other methods can be used

Credit: Katie Collins/EMPICS Entertainment

A minister at the Department of Health and Social Care has said that the government wants to “improve the accessibility of [coronavirus] testing via non digital routes”.

The primary method for booking a test and receiving the results is the online GOV.UK platform which tells visitors “if no tests are available online, do not call helplines to get a test; no extra tests are available through the helplines”.

Asked in a written parliamentary question from Labour MP Cat Smith how people without an email address could access home-testing services and receive results, care minister Helen Whately first said that they could ask a friend or family member to assist.


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“There are a number of ways individuals can access testing without a mobile phone number or email address,” she said. “Individuals can ask someone they trust who has a mobile number or email address, for example a family member, to book a test or receive their results.”

Despite the advice on the GOV.UK website, Whately said that, if using another person’s contact details “is not possible”, citizens can, via a landline phone, ring the helpline and book a test, and then later use it to receive results.

She said: “Individuals can contact 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 0300 303 2713 in Scotland to book a test at their nearest test site and to receive their results, either via a call back to a landline or by contacting 119 once the results are available.”

The minister added: “We are working to further improve the accessibility of testing via non-digital routes.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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