Twickenham MP challenges Health Secretary as Twickenham residents told to get Covid-tested in Aberdeen

By Tom Holmes
September 16 2020, 16.00

Twickenham MP Munira Wilson clashed with Health Secretary Matt Hancock after it was revealed Twickenham residents were having to put in an Aberdeen postcode to get Covid-19 tested at their local site.

The local test and trace system has been plagued by issues, with home testing kits unavailable, and some people being asked to travel to Newquay or even Aberdeen to access tests.

And the Liberal Democrat MP challenged Mr Hancock in the House of Commons over the issues affecting people trying to get tested in Twickenham.

She said: “We were promised a world-beating test and trace system but what we have at the moment is an utter shambles. It is unacceptable that local residents have been struggling to get tests for almost a week now.

“With kids back at school, there was always going to be additional pressure on testing capacity, but given the promises this government has made, few would have expected the system to buckle so quickly.”

Ms Wilson asked Mr Hancock whether constituents should attempt to game the system by putting in Aberdeen postcodes as suggested, in order to get a test in Twickenham.

Mr Hancock replied: “No; in fact, it is incumbent on us all to take a responsible approach and tell our constituents that tests are available in large numbers, that the average distance travelled is 5.8 miles and that people should take this seriously and not game the system.”

This news follows a public apology from NHS Test and Trace as people found themselves unable to get tested despite sites being empty, as laboratories became a “critical pinch-point”.

The Prime Minister today said that daily testing capacity will reach 500,000 by the end of October, saying that the system was struggling to cope with a colossal spike in demand.

The Twickenham MP added: “This is having a huge impact on people locally.

“Schools are worried about staying open and are under immense pressure because their students and teachers cannot get access to tests. Local residents have been unable to get back to work. Healthcare workers have been self-isolating whilst they wait to access a test rather than getting back to the frontline.

“We need to hear the practical steps Ministers are taking to fix testing right now, not just ambitions for the future. People are counting on the Government to get this sorted to keep people safe from a second wave of this dreadful virus.”

Credit: BBC News

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