Austrian GPs can now conduct ‘rapid’ coronavirus testing

Austrian GPs can now conduct 'rapid' coronavirus testing
Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Since Thursday, Austrian GPs have been permitted to carry out ‘rapid coronavirus testing’, however the rollout has not been without problems.

On Wednesday, October 21st, Austrian Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced that general practitioners across the country would now be allowed to carry out rapid testing for coronavirus.  

Pursuant to the scheme, GPs will be able to decide voluntary whether to join the testing scheme – with the costs of the tests covered by health insurance providers. 

Patients can make an appointment online or via the telephone, before being swabbed by their doctor. 

However, as reported by Austria’s Kurier newspaper on Friday, enthusiasm for the scheme has been dampened on its rollout – by a lack of tests. 

The Austrian Medical Association, said that while the scheme should be welcomed amid rising infection rates, there were not enough tests made available. 

“Even if they (doctors) would like to test, they cannot yet because the tests are not there. It cannot be that doctors who are currently under constant stress anyway have to deal with this,” said Edgar Wutscher from the Austrian Medical Association.

When making the announcement, Anschober promised there would be enough tests. 

The President of the Medical Association, Thomas Szekeres, also said that many practices were unable to carry out the tests as they did not have enough space to separate possibly infected patients from those visiting for other health ailments. 

The regulation requires that non-infectious and potentially infectious patients be kept apart as part of the testing regime. 

Unlike the PCR tests, the rapid tests provide an answer within 20 minutes – and only cost 10 euros. They are however considered to be less accurate. 

 


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