At-home PCR testing for Disabled people discontinued

 

A row of Lilly Pilly plants in a side garden

In January, I came down with what felt like the worst virus of my life. I was weak, feverish, shivering and shaking, delirious and had a sore throat and splitting headaches. My first thought was to ring the COVID hotline, only to find the at home testing service for Disabled people had ceased to exist.

I spent hours on the phone, trying to reach someone who could help me. Alternating with lying exhausted and breathless on the couch. I was finally told to get a GP referral to ‘prove’ my need for the service. How? I asked. Just go to a GP clinic!

After getting an on-call GP telehealth referral, which the person on the COVID hotline was reluctant to accept, they finally agreed I was worthy of testing. So a nurse dropped a RAT off at my door and drove away.

When they rang later to ask about the results, and I said I tested negative but was extremely symptomatic, they told me I could go out and do whatever I liked.

Disability ‘helplines’ were equally useless. No one would give me a PCR test which is recommended when symptomatic – though they gave me plenty of advice about getting someone from another household to drive me to one!

I’m most angry not for myself, but for those who genuinely cannot access these services – not everyone has hours to spend on the phone or can engage in self advocacy. Not everyone can administer a RAT themselves. How many Disabled people have died alone at home because of this?

Oh btw – I just got my retrospective blood test results back and I did have COVID. If only there was a test at the time which would have told me this 🧐

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Author: Siobhan S

30 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

6 thoughts on “At-home PCR testing for Disabled people discontinued”

        1. To be fair, my GP clinic were great about writing a referral. But the at home testing, which used to be run by the state government, seems to have been privatised out to a private health insurance company. They were the ones mucking me around.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello. I’ve only just come across your blog. I’m in the UK, and I have a chronic illness too (a progressive lung condition), but I’m 65, so a lot older than you. I hope you’re feeling better now. It sounds as if in Australia, just like in the UK, Covid is considered to be ‘over’, and so much of the support has been wound down. But, of course, especially for vulnerable people like us, it’s not over. I’ve been terrified of catching Covid. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, and I really hope you don’t get lasting ill effects from it. By the way, I discovered your blog because I was looking for a review of the Julien chore jacket. And I’m very impressed with your version. Take care xx

    Liked by 2 people

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