When you take a home lateral flow test in England, you are meant to report your results by the end of the next day and there’s a website that is meant to make this quick and easy. That’s a great idea. Positive results can quickly be escalated to confirm them and limit the spread of infection while negative ones confirm that, if numbers go down, it is because the disease is spreading less rather than that we aren’t bothering to look.
Unfortunately, the website is not very reliable. I’ve normally done a test on a Sunday morning (a request from the wind band I play with on most Sunday evenings) and it is often the next day before my login succeeds and I can actually make the report. I’d assumed maybe it was a weekend issue, with lots of tests being done, the server going a bit hazy and nobody keeping an eye on it. However, the tests Jane and I took on Saturday morning (both negative), couldn’t be registered that day. Or Sunday. Or Monday, or Tuesday or today. Sometimes I can login and it recognises my account but fails to load any more; sometimes I can’t even login.
That’s useless. Even if it comes back, it’s too late to report Saturday’s tests. For a nation that the Government is keen to put back to work, and which is meant to be a world leader in health and technology, it is a ridiculous and dangerous point of failure. What if I did have a positive result? What about the monitoring value of negative results? Who do I contact about the matter? All results point back to the same gov.uk site and that appears to be in a state for which web developers would be inclined to cite their two favourite variables, foo and bar.