To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) increase covid-19 testing capacity and (b) reduce waiting times for results for (i) students and (ii) staff at universities.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
14 April 2021
NHS Test and Trace has capacity to respond to increases in demand. As of 26 March over 8.5 million lateral flow device (LFD) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted. We also have the capacity to conduct over 750,000 PCR tests every day in over 1,100 test sites.
Since November 2020 we have assisted universities in setting up asymptomatic test sites (ATS) and the majority have one or multiple test sites and engaged in the regular testing of their staff and students with LFDs. For those who have been unable to set up their own ATS, we are working with the Department for Education to ensure there is a solution, either through partnering with a larger higher education institution or making use of community test sites. Between 2 January and 6 April, the overall average turnaround time at ATS across the United Kingdom is 36 minutes.