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No Covid tests available for sick child from Larkfield - or anyone else

An anxious mum has still not been able to get an NHS Covid test for her sick daughter after five days of trying.

Trena Lee, of Kingfisher Road, Larkfield, even took her special needs daughter to Maidstone Hospital when her symptoms worsened, but still couldn't get doctors to give her a test.

Trena Lee with her daughter Emily
Trena Lee with her daughter Emily

Emily, eight, has cerebral palsy and also a rare genetic condition known as KBG Syndrome which means she has a constantly lowered immune system among other problems.

She attends the Five Acre Wood special school satellite branch at Snodland and travels there every day by KCC transport which she shares with eight other special needs children.

Mrs Lee said: "I am always worried about her health and always take her temperature every day before she goes to school and when she comes back.

"On Monday, she was fine in the morning, but it was sky-high when she came home."

She contacted her GP, who was familiar with Emily's condition, and who immediately prescribed anti-biotics and advised Mrs Lee to have Emily tested for Covid.

It ought to be so easy to get a test
It ought to be so easy to get a test

She said: "I tried. I went online straight away and tried again and again until midnight."

After a few hours sleep, Mrs Lee got up again at 3am to try once more.

She said: "It just kept saying there were no tests available and to try again later."

She said: "We wanted a test not only for Emily's sake, but also because we had visited her 80-year-grandad on Sunday, and then there are the other kids on the bus, all of whom are vulnerable, and we felt they needed to know if Emily had Covid."

On Tuesday, Emily seemed a little better, but on Wednesday plunged down hill.

Staff at Maidstone Hospital said they couldn't give Emily a test
Staff at Maidstone Hospital said they couldn't give Emily a test

Mrs Lee said: "Her temperature shot up again and Emily became lethargic and a bit unresponsive."

Mrs Lee and her husband Andrew contacted their GP again and he advised them to take Emily to A&E, which they did at Maidstone Hospital.

She said: "They weren't very impressed to see us, but we explained the doctor had sent us."

They were sent across to the Riverbank children's unit where after seeing a paediatrician and then an infectious diseases specialist, Mrs Lee said: "We were told Emily had all the classic symptoms of Covid, but they point blank refused to give her a test."

Instead Emily was sent home and told to rest with paracetamol and ibuprofen and to seek an NHS test online.

'The system is just not working...'

Mrs Lee said: "We have continued to do that ever since, though perhaps no so frequently as before.

"In five days we have been offered one test.

"It was 11am and we were told we could get one done at Manston Airport at 12noon, that's 47 miles away. We would not have made it and it was impractical anyway by then because Emily had developed diarrhoea and couldn't have travelled that distance."

The family were reduced to ordering a private test kit online at a cost of £140, plus £24 postage to send the test outcome back for next day delivery.

Mrs Lee said: "We are expecting to hear the result tomorrow."

What you get on the Covid test booking site tonight
What you get on the Covid test booking site tonight

Mrs Lee said: "We keep hearing that Kent has a lower level of Covid cases than other parts of the country, but I think that's just because no-one can get tested to show up on the statistics.

KentOnline has this evening tested the NHS online test-booking site.

It told us there were no postal tests available and no drive-in testing sites available either. It advised: "Try again in a few hours."

It also warned the website would be unavailable after 23.59 tonight.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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