Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called for clarity and increased capacity from the HSE after reports of “chaos” at a Covid-19 testing centre in the Cork Airport Business Park.
The Sinn Féin TD’s comments came after multiple reports of lengthy queues in the open air, with patients who had appointments for PCR tests facing queues of up to three hours alongside walk-in patients.
“The situation is the Cork Airport testing centre seems to be just absolute chaos, and while we all understand that the system is under pressure, that’s no excuse for the confusion that exists, with people who have appointments discovering it’s effectively a walk-in centre and being forced to wait outside for hours,” Deputy Ó Laoghaire said.
“I appreciate we need more capacity, and that’s the solution here, but in the meantime we need to streamline the system because it’s really not fair on people who may be waiting days for a test and then to come here to face utter confusion.”
Luke McGrath, who had an appointment for 11am on Wednesday, toldthat he had stood outdoors in the queue “behind at least 100 people” for over an hour, before leaving and returning at 3pm.
“I spoke with the security guard, who said I would be waiting two to three hours, as they were still dealing with the so-called appointments from 10am to 11am,” he said.
Mr McGrath said he was going to attempt to apply for another test at another centre.
The Cork Airport test centre is run on behalf of the HSE by the private company RocDoc, which announced last week that it would be opening a walk-in test centre at the airport.
A HSE spokesperson told The Echo: "All public testing on site at Cork Airport Business park (operated on our behalf by RocDoc) is by appointment only.
"Private testing may operate differently therefore you may need to check this with a representative from RocDoc to confirm."
contacted RocDoc for comment and was told to contact the HSE.
The HSE spokesperson also told: “We acknowledge delays earlier this week at the testing facility at Cork Airport providing testing on behalf of the HSE and we apologise for delays experienced by people.
“We have seen unprecedented demand for testing and additional staff are now in place to address this issue.” The HSE had not responded last night to a subsequent request to clarify the phrase “earlier this week”, when the most recent reports of delays related to tests on Wednesday evening.