‘Appalling, unforgiveable’ testing move slammed
Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates slammed the state government for "putting the fear in Queenslanders" urging them to get tested just hours before clinics closed yesterday.
People who lined up for as long as two hours at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Saturday night were left furious after being turned away when the COVID-19 testing facility shut at 9pm.
The returned Queenslanders and interstate travellers who came out to "do the right thing" were left disappointed after they were advised by Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young to get tested "immediately" and isolate if they had been in Melbourne since December 21.
As the only testing facility open last night, the RBWH was swamped in the hours following the announcement.
"What we saw last night outside the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital was appalling and unforgivable," Ms Bates said.
"The Labor Government put the fear in Queenslanders to get tested but when they answered the call in droves, they're turned away.
"I am dismayed as to why this clinic closed at 9pm despite only hours earlier Labor urged anyone from Queensland who'd been to Victoria since December 21 to immediately get tested.
Ms Bates this morning urged anyone who was unable to be tested last night not to take their frustration out on health workers.
"I hope the people who were turned away from RBWH last night are able to get a test today and treat the staff respectfully, as they weren't the ones responsible for making this dumb decision," she said.
Ms Bates said it was imperative that Queenslanders were given health advice as early as possible in future.
"We can't afford one person who may have COVID-19 turned away," she said.
Lines stretched more than 200m around the hospital when the testing clinic opened at 7:30am today, after hundreds were turned away last night.
Queenslanders queuing on Sunday morning expressed their frustration the announcement was not matched with an increase in pop-up testing clinics.
Long queues were also present at the few pop-up clinics that opened, with hundreds of cars backed up in multiple directions around the Bowen Hills drive-in testing clinic close to the RBWH.
Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) has advised people to expect five-hour waits to get tested, despite having doubled staffing levels to meet demand.
"At the moment, wait times are approximately five hours, however there is an alternative testing location at Sullivan Nicolaides pathology lab at Nerang," GCUH wrote in a statement.
"If you do choose to attend one of our locations, please consider bringing a folding chair, a book or device and some snacks.
"We have doubled the staffing levels at each of our centres and are working as hard as possible to get through the demand.
"If you are feeling unwell while waiting, please ensure you let one of our staff know."
The Nerang testing facility reportedly has wait times of about five hours.
A couple who arrived at RBWH at 7.30am this morning told the Courier-Mail they completed their testing about 12.25pm.
They have been advised it will take between 24-48 hours to receive a result.
Ms Bates said massive queues for testing clinics across the southeast were the latest illustration of an on-going problem that may be deterring people from getting tested.
"We saw this happen only last week down here on the Gold Coast when fragments of COVID were found in the Elanora wastewater treatment plant," she said.
"People lined up for hours in the sun - six to eight hours - in 30-degree heat"
"The last thing we need to see is someone walking away from getting tested who should be getting tested."
She said the GP-referral requirement added unnecessary stops to the testing process and needed to be relaxed.
"You've got to go to a GP, so that's one stop. Then you've got to go to a pathology centre and get your testing done: that's two stops," she said.
"We need to make it easier, not harder."
WHERE TO GET TESTED WITHOUT A GP REFERRAL
Bowen Hills COVID car collect site
Address: 24 Hurworth Street, Bowen Hills, 4006
Opening Hours: 11:00-14:00
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
Address: Butterfield Street, Herston, 4029
Opening Hours: 07:30-21:00
Queensland Children's Hospital
Notes: Testing available for children up to 16 years.
Address: 62 Graham St, South Brisbane
Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
PA Hospital Community Screening Clinic
Address:20 Cornwall Street, Annerley, 4103
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH)
Address: 627 Rode Rd, Chermside, 4032
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:00
Murarrie Pathology Central Laboratory
Address: 11 Riverview Place, Metroplex on Gateway, Murarrie, 4172
Opening Hours: 08:00-12:00
QEII Jubilee Hospital
Booking needed: call 07 3182 6500
Address: Cnr Troughton Rd & Kessels Rd, Coopers Plains, 4108
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Notes: The clinic is ONLY testing people >12 years of age.
Address: Cnr Loganlea and Armstrong Rds, Meadowbrook, 4131
Opening Hours: 08:00-16:30
Originally published as 'Appalling, unforgiveable' testing move slammed