NHS STAFF based in England have been told to take seven-hour trips to Scotland in order to be tested for coronavirus, it has been claimed.
Frontline workers from County Durham have been told by the Government’s website to head to Edinburgh and Perth to get the test carried out – despite the Army recently setting up testing stations in the region, in Bishop Auckland and at Dalton Park.
Councillor Lucy Hovvels has written to the Health Secretary with her concerns.
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Speaking to Chronicle Live, she said: “We have had complaints that local sites aren’t listed, when people from Durham and Darlington attempted to book an appointment, they have been given slots in Penrith, Harrogate, Edinburgh and Perth.
“The booking site has fallen over half way through the booking process so people have had to start again, people don’t know whether they have managed to book an appointment successfully on the site or not, and it is taking several hours to obtain a booking through the site.”
Meanwhile North Durham MP Kevan Jones described the bizarre situation, which meant some staff would need to take 400-mile round trips just to get a swab, as a “shambles”.
He said: “The idea of people being sent to Edinburgh shows the shambolic nature of the national screening programme.
“The Government has taken the decision to work with the private sector and are trying to control things nationally rather than working with local government and local health trusts.
“The Prime Minister has said there will be 200,000 tests a day by the end of the month. There is no way that target will be reached with this shambles.
“The serious point here is he is talking about lifting part of the lockdown on Monday and the Government has got no idea where people who are testing positive are.
“This gives no confidence to the public.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “In addition to setting up a nationwide network of drive-in testing sites, we have also introduced home testing kit delivery and deployed mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces.”