Julia Hartley-Brewer: Why can Prince Charles get a test on the NHS?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer has taken health minister Edward Argar to task over Prince Charles being granted a coronavirus test on the NHS.

The Prince of Wales tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday but is said to be in “good spirits” and displaying mild symptoms, according to Clarence House.

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, also tested for the virus but was negative.

Julia challenged Mr Argar on the subject, saying: “Why is the heir to the throne and his wife entitled to get a test on the NHS in Scotland when key workers on the frontline working to save lives can't get those tests?”

The Charnwood MP refused to comment, saying it “would not be appropriate” to go into individual cases, “even someone as high profile as the Prince of Wales”.

But he said he believed the “correct processes were followed” by the NHS in Scotland, where Charles and Camilla are self-isolating at Balmoral.

But Julia pressed on, saying: “Are you telling me that anyone in their seventies, with no underlying health conditions and showing only mild symptoms, is able to get hold of a test on the NHS in Scotland?

“Because I have a funny feeling if you asked most 71-year-olds in Scotland exhibiting mild symptoms, they’ll tell you something different.”

There are two types of tests for Covid-19 - one that tells you if you have the virus at present and another which tells you if you have had a past infection.

Members of the public who feel ill at home are not likely will not get the antigen test which determines whether they have coronavirus as the NHS is prioritising the testing of seriously ill people in hospital.

The government said it hopes to start rolling out testing to NHS frontline workers in the next few days.

Meanwhile, it is also working on bringing in a separate antibody blood test to tell whether people have had Covid-19 at some point in the past.

Boris Johnson has said it would be a “game-changer” because if someone has already had the virus, they will have gained a level of immunity and could return to work.

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