NHS Test and Trace official issues apology to people unable to get tests

8 September 2020, 11:20 | Updated: 8 September 2020, 11:22

There are reports of people being told to travel hundreds of miles for a covid test
There are reports of people being told to travel hundreds of miles for a covid test. Picture: PA

The Director of Testing at NHS Test and Trace has offered her “heartfelt apologies” to people who cannot get a coronavirus test, after shortages meant some people were forced to travel hundreds of miles to get tested.

LBC understands that there were no Covid-19 tests available in much of London on Monday, with a message telling those with symptoms to check again a few hours later.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, who is in charge of the testing across England, apologised in a tweet today.

“Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present,” she tweeted.

Ms Marsh explained that, while testing sites have capacity and therefore don’t look overcrowded, it is “laboratory processing that is the critical pinch-point”.

On Sunday there was capacity for 370,000 tests but only 176,000 were processed.

To address this additional labs are “due to open-up imminently” and the use of “non-Laboratory based tests” is being expanded, she added.

Read more: Brits told to maintain Covid-19 safety rules after rise in cases

The lack of tests has created shortages in parts of the country and some of those who have been able to book a test were told to travel hundreds of miles to testing sites.

On Friday, Nick from Nottingham told LBC’s Nick Ferrari that he was instructed by the government’s testing website that he should travel 341 miles from Nottingham to Dundee to take a coronavirus test.

Nick came back on air to confront Health Secretary Matt Hancock as part of LBC’s Call the Cabinet on Monday.

"I'm not happy with the testing system at all, we were promised a world-class track and trace system," Nick said to the Health Secretary, telling him of his experience.

Mr Hancock responded: "We've changed that now and people get offered tests within 75 miles which is still quite a hike if you need to.”

"The vast majority of people get access to a test at their local testing centre," he responded, accepting that there had "been problems" with the system but he has since announced half a billion pounds for extra capacity.

Ms Marsh said the testing team “recognise the country is depending on us” and are working on increasing availability “18 hours a day, 7 days a week”.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Exclusive
Melvin Terry waited for 27 hours in A&E before being sent home

Hospital apologises after grandfather, 76, spent 27 hours waiting for A&E bed before being sent home

Breaking
The girl was allegedly abducted from Warne Avenue, Droylsden

Man, 23, arrested on suspicion of abduction and sexual assault of girl, 6, in Droylsden

Grant Shapps told Nick Ferrari there were "no plans" to introduce registration plates for cyclists

'No plans' to introduce registration plates for cyclists, says Grant Shapps

Jack Fenton was killed after being struck by a helicopter's tail rotor

Parents demand answers from Greek authorities after son, 22, killed by helicopter blade

Lady Louise

Lady Louise Windsor working for minimum wage at garden centre before university

Gerard Butler posted this picture of him and his pal Darius on Instagram

Gerard Butler pays tribute to 'dear friend' Darius Danesh and posts moving Instagram photo

A 44-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 87-year-old Thomas O'Halloran

Man charged with murder after Thomas O'Halloran, 87, stabbed to death on mobility scooter in Greenford

iPhones and iPads are among the affected devices

Apple reveals serious security issue with iPhones, iPads and Macs that could give hackers complete control

Another day of travel chaos awaits commuters in and to London

Unions threaten to strike for 'as long as it takes' as millions face more travel chaos in London

The officer has been charged with dangerous driving

Armed officer charged with dangerous driving after he drove unmarked car to Streatham terror attack

Ryan Giggs' raunchy poems to his ex were read out in court

Ryan Giggs' mother sits in court as raunchy 'totem pole' poems he sent to ex are read out

Ms Marin said she is a normal 36-year-old who spends time with her friends

Finnish PM denies drug taking after footage of 36-year-old dancing at 'wild' party emerges

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A-Level teens should take on apprenticeships, says Charlie Mullins

A new image, on the right, has been released

New image of man released by police after girl, 6, abducted and taken to woodland in Droylsden

Mr Mendy and Mar Matturie deny a string of sex offences

Benjamin Mendy 'told rape victim he had sex with 10,000 women and it was a privilege'

Anger as Southern Water ‘unsure’ how many litres of sewage released at closed beaches

Sewage scandal: pollution plaguing Britain’s beaches and beauty spots as water firms told 'clean up your act'