Caller confronts Matt Hancock after being told to travel 341 miles for a Covid-19 test

7 September 2020, 11:33 | Updated: 7 September 2020, 14:51

By Fiona Jones

This caller, who told LBC earlier in the week he'd been instructed to travel 341 miles for a test, came back on air to confront the Health Secretary in new phone-in Call the Cabinet.

Nick in Nottingham went on the Government website to book a coronavirus test and he was given a slot in a test centre 341 miles away in Dundee, he told Nick Ferrari last week.

"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 on LBC's Call the Cabinet, telling him of his experience.

Mt 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 challenge is we've got the biggest testing system per head of population in any major country in Europe, significantly bigger than France, Spain...and Germany.

"Over the summer we've seen the demand for tests go up...so if your local centre is full then people are asked to go quite a long way."

Caller confronts Matt Hancock after being told to travel 341 miles for a Covid-19 test
Caller confronts Matt Hancock after being told to travel 341 miles for a Covid-19 test. Picture: LBC

Nick Ferrari asked the caller how long ago this occurred and he revealed it was ten days ago he was asked to do a round trip of almost 700 miles.

"How could this system ever have been signed off that would allow someone to be suggested they travel 350 miles?" Nick asked Matt Hancock.

"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.

The Health Secretary confirmed for Nick Ferrari that the system has been adapted so that no one will be suggested a test slot over 75 miles from their home.

The 341 mile journey from Nottingham to Dundee
The 341 mile journey from Nottingham to Dundee. Picture: Google Maps

Call the Cabinet gives LBC listeners the chance to regularly put their questions directly to a senior member of the Cabinet, live on national radio.

The new phone-in started this morning on the station’s biggest programme, Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

A different senior member of the government will regularly go head-to-head with LBC’s listeners on the big issues that matter to them, with no topic off-limits.