Tasmania Health Service offers 'sincere apology' to woman who waited six days for COVID results

Elderly woman's six-day wait for COVID results

An elderly woman isolated herself at home alone for nearly a week, going without groceries or other support, only to find out she does not have coronavirus.

The 74-year-old North-West Tasmanian woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was tested for COVID-19 on the advice of her GP last Thursday.

She advised health staff that she did not have a mobile phone so could not receive her results via text message, and provided her home phone number.

By Wednesday morning she had not yet heard from the Tasmanian Health Service, and her son called the hotline from his home in Queensland.

He told The Advocate a THS staff member told him his mother's results were negative, despite not having verified his identity or whether he was an emergency contact.

He said it amounted to a breach of his mother's confidentiality.

He called his mother himself to tell her she was negative, and by Wednesday afternoon she had yet to receive any communication from the THS herself.

"I'd be ringing Mum each night. We were all concerned. She's a battler but she was quite scared," the man said.

He said it was particularly concerning because it was possible this is not an isolated incident.

"I cannot tell you how absolutely horrified I am. Is my mother the only one not being notified?

"This borders on elder abuse. The poor lady was sitting at home, too frightened to go out and buy groceries. she was just suffering through."

A Tasmanian Health Service spokesperson said they had offered "sincere apologies for the delay in providing her with her test results".

"This is an extremely unfortunate and rare occurrence. The THS communicates test results to several hundred Tasmanians every day - including to people who do not have mobile phones.

"The error that caused this result to not be provided in a timely manner is now being investigated to ensure it does not occur again.

"If any Tasmanian tested for coronavirus at a clinic operated by the Tasmanian Health Service has not been contacted about their results within 48 hours of their test, they should contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738."

This story Elderly woman's six-day wait for COVID results first appeared on The Advocate.