Testing and tracing

Sir, – Regarding the “technical difficulties” (News, May 13th) which are slowing our testing and tracing system, it is worth mentioning that these issues are not unique to the current pandemic. They are deeply ingrained flaws which have held back the Irish health system for years. While exemplar countries such as South Korea and Australia have testing turnaround times of less than 24 hours, we are still struggling to meet our target of 72 hours.

This is not due to issues with our swab centres, or a lack of technical proficiency on the part of our laboratory technicians or contact tracers.

Rather it is the complete absence of a national patient identifier or electronic medical record. Instead of a streamlined online system, nurses and doctors waste precious time filling out endless paper forms and transcribing patient information by hand. Inevitably this leads to errors and delays.

A modern health record system needs to be more than an afterthought if we want to move forward after this pandemic. – Yours, etc,




Co Dublin.