Patients on the Isle of Wight have been left waiting more than two weeks for sexual health test results due to an unprecedented demand for chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing.
The rise in demand has coincided with the main laboratory in Brighton undergoing essential maintenance.
To try to reduce the backlog, samples have been sent to another mainland laboratory for testing, which has caused an increased turnaround time.
Test results should be returned with 14 days.
However, between March, 2018, and February, 2019, more than 15 per cent of Isle of Wight patients were left waiting for longer.
An Isle of Wight NHS Trust spokesperson said:
“We are checking daily for results and keeping all patients informed.
“We are offering FreeTest.Me for asymptomatic patients and working with South of England Procurement to look at alternative providers.”
FreeTest.Me will send a free kit in the post, enabling people to take a sample at home and return it directly to the laboratory.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) with as many as one in 12 young people infected. Some STIs, such as chlamydia, can show no symptoms, and it is recommended those who are sexually active are tested annually.
By Megan Baynes, Local Democracy Reporter