Nick Ferrari tells NHS chief: Be candid, we're not meeting our coronavirus testing targets

10 April 2020, 09:42 | Updated: 10 April 2020, 09:44

By Adrian Sherling

Two weeks ago, Professor Stephen Powis told Nick Ferrari that we would be testing 100,000 people for coronavirus in the next few weeks. Today, Nick asked him to be candid and admit we're nowhere near that target.

Yesterday, the UK tested 16,095 people for coronavirus, with 4,344 positive results and 881 people dying.

Speaking to the National Medical Director for NHS England, Nick asked him to admit that we're nowhere near the targets on testing.

On 25th March, Professor Powis told LBC: "We need to do more testing. Testing is absolutely critical, not just for staff, but for patients.

"We want to get hundreds of thousands of tests ramped up in the next few weeks per day."

Today, Nick told him: "We are making progress but we are a long, long, long way off. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock is guaranteeing [100,000 tests per day] by the end of the month. Is it time to be candid with each other? We're not going to get there, are we Professor?"

Nick Ferrari asked the NHS director why we're not meeting testing targets
Nick Ferrari asked the NHS director why we're not meeting testing targets. Picture: LBC / PA

Professor Powis responded: "The Secretary of State has set out a plan to get to 100,000 tests by the end of the month. That is being delivered across a variety of different organisations

"The NHS Laboratories are delivering one part of that, which is to get to 25,000 tests and we're on trajectory to get to that. So the NHS is absolutely playing its part in that aim. I stand by what I said that testing is incredibly important."

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Nick agreed, but asked: "The increase in the last couple of days is in the order of around 1,500-2,000. Are you still going to stand by that figure of 100,000 by the end of this month."

The professor insisted: "That's what we're aiming for. I'm standing by that we are on trajectory for the 25,000 that the NHS is planning to deliver by the end of the month.

"Clearly there have been issues with reagents which you've heard about. That is beginning to ease now. But we do need to increase testing. We are working night and day to ensure that we do that."