I am very aware of current difficulties in accessing covid testing, and have raised this with Government. Access to testing is important to not only control covid, but also to allow those who test negative to return to school and work as quickly as possible. I myself struggled to arrange a test last week and understand the frustration and worry many are experiencing.
I have raised this with the Department for Health and Social Care, who are well aware of the issues and are working hard to resolve them. These issues have also been raised by the Surrey and South East Local Resilience Forums.
The Government is pushing hard to increase testing capacity to more than 500,000 a day by the end of October. In the UK we are already carrying out well over 220,000 NHS tests every day, one of the highest rates per capita in the world. But I know this doesn’t help when you are trying to get a test for yourself or your child and are concerned for the health and wellbeing of a loved one.
To ensure tests can be given to those with the greatest need, it is important that only those with one or more symptoms of covid – a high temperature, a cough, a loss of taste or smell – book tests. The national programme is continually seeking to release more booking slots, so if initially unsuccessful please do keep trying, slots are often released in the evening for morning appointments the following day, and in the morning for slots that afternoon. I will continue to press for improvements and greater capacity so that everyone who needs a test can get one.