THE UK Government has apologised after Scots were left waiting up to five days over Christmas to receive PCR test results.

Scores of suspected Covid patients reported delays after taking the test on December 23.

Those waiting on results have to self-isolate until they find out their result, meaning Christmas plans were scuppered.

One Scot, who wishes to remain unnamed, told The National that the system was an “absolute shambles” after waiting four days to receive a response following a positive lateral flow test.

The man, who lives at home with his parents in Ayrshire, says he was told by health officials who were chasing up his PCR result that it could be “missing”. He eventually received confirmation of a positive result on Monday, by which point he had booked another test.

He described the system as “unusable and completely shambolic”, with several other people taking to social media to report similar issues after testing on December 23.

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BBC Scotland also spoke to several families who had to cancel their Christmas plans while awaiting a response, with some waiting up to five days.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which manages PCR testing in Scotland, has apologised to those who had to “wait a little longer” for a response.

The Scottish Government says it aims to get all results back within 48 hours, but explained there may be delays due to high demand.

PCR test appointments were also temporarily unavailable in several parts of Scotland on Monday due to high demand.

It comes as the First Minister warned record numbers of daily infections have been registered over Christmas.

The National: First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

According to provisional data, 8252 cases were recorded on Christmas Day, 11,030 on Boxing Day and 10,562 on Monday.

Responding to complaints about the PCR testing system, a UKHSA spokesperson said: "Due to record levels of demand we are seeing an increase in turnaround times for PCR test results.

"Fast action has been taken to expand processing capability and add extra capacity to our laboratory network to meet this exceptional demand.

"Our lab technicians and scientists are working as fast as possible to ensure the public receives their results quickly and we apologise to anyone that is having to wait a little longer for their test result."

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UKHSA was also forced to apologise last week after delays in test results in the north west of England.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any issues with test results being lost. Some tests – such as postal tests – can take longer than others to get to labs for processing, but we aim to communicate test results from physical test sites within 48 hours.

“If you have not received your result within 72 hours, please phone the helpline on 119 for assistance.”

National clinical director Jason Leitch was asked about reports that people in Glasgow have had to wait four days for a PCR test result.

“I apologise for that, I am sorry if people had to wait a little bit longer," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

“We think the acute problem, the immediate problem is resolved.

“My understanding was, yesterday [Monday] speaking to test and protect leaders, that the backlog was cleared and they were back to somewhere between 24 and 36 hours for pretty much all the tests.

“Postal ones take a bit longer just because it takes a while to get through the mail and back."