Royal College of Occupational Therapists statement on COVID-19 testing shortages

The difficulty that frontline key workers are having in accessing COVID-19 tests has recently been the subject of much discussion in parliament and the media.

Occupational therapists across the UK play a key role in the fight against the pandemic, and the lack of testing is of huge concern to the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

Commenting on the lack of testing, RCOT Chief executive Julia Scott said:

“We have seen over the past few days significant concerns from all areas of the NHS, Social Care, Teachers and those front-line key workers who have struggled to get a COVID-19 test.

“As we see spikes in the infection rates and signs of a second wave, we have huge concerns about the accessibility of testing for occupational therapists and AHP’s on the front-line. In particular, those that work in social care settings, such as care homes, which as we know are extremely vulnerable to the worst impacts of coronavirus.

“Whilst it is positive that government ministers have suggested that the NHS is the top priority for testing, this is worrying for social care which was overlooked in the initial response to the pandemic. Occupational therapists for weeks and months were hampered in providing vital support, such as rehabilitation, to those that needed it due to the lack of guidance and access to personal protective equipment.

“The fact that some NHS staff, Care Workers and Teachers are already having to self-isolate because they cannot access a test within a reasonable distance in many parts of the country, is not good enough. This needs to be resolved in days and not ‘in a matter of weeks’ as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care indicated this week during urgent questions.”