A minister denied claims of acute shortages in England's hotspots, saying mobile testing units were boosting capacity Photo: AFP
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UK warned virus test shortages harming health system

8 Comments
By Oli SCARFF

Healthcare services are being jeopardised by lack of access to coronavirus testing, hospital bosses in England warned on Tuesday.

NHS Providers, which represents the heads of hospital trusts in the state-run National Health Service, said there were "current capacity problems with the testing regime".

Its chief executive Chris Hopson said the government should prioritise health workers, as shortages of tests had caused a slew of staff absences in major cities.

Patients were also struggling to get tests, compounding delays within the NHS that have worsened since the outbreak began.

"We have now got cases where patients who should be being treated, we can't treat them because they can't get access to a test," he told Sky News television in an interview.

"So, for them that's a real problem."

Hopson spoke after LBC radio reported on Monday that no coronavirus tests were available in any of the 10 worst hotspots in England.

The revelation followed weekend reports of a backlog of 185,000 swab tests, and that the system was so stretched samples were being sent to labs in Italy and Germany.

The UK government has blamed surging demand for the situation and promised increased capacity while urging people only to get tested if they are showing symptoms.

Interior minister Priti Patel denied claims of acute shortages in England's hotspots, saying mobile testing units were boosting capacity in areas under local lockdowns.

"Clearly there is much more work that needs to be undertaken with Public Health England and the actual public health bodies in those particular local areas," she told BBC radio on Tuesday.

Britain, which has been the worst-hit country in Europe registering nearly 42,000 deaths, has seen a resurgence in the virus in recent weeks.

The country recorded more than 3,000 new cases on three consecutive days over the weekend, for the first time since May.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged to have a "world-beating" testing and tracing operation in place by June.

But alongside the faltering testing regime, the tracing system is still failing to reach the required number of people to work effectively.

Meanwhile, a much-touted smartphone app to help trace people is yet to launch in England.

Scotland, which runs health from the devolved administration in Edinburgh, launched an app last week using technology developed by Apple and Google.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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I hope the Covid emergency reminds political parties and the electorate that when you elect leaders, you are putting them in charge to deal with possible situations requiring leadership, decisiveness and competence. Ruffled up hair and PR stunts isn’t enough.

Johnson has failed the people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pledged

Thank you, no more questions.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Everything Johnson and his puppet-master Dominic Cummings have done is "world-beating" on all fronts. World-beatingly shambolic.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Although it is a total cockup, at least they are doing hundreds of thousands of daily tests compared to our 3000-4000.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Japanese government knows this and about the situation in other countries and yet it imposes rapid testing as one of the conditions for PRs being able to return to Japan. Either they are stupid, or clever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Surely there are entrepreneurs owning labs that can fit out labs to test for viruses?

Seems like a cash cow...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

According to a director of one of the labs the problems are not with them, they have capacity. The issue is with the number of appointments available and the system for allocating these appointments. The running of the new test and trace service was given to Dido Harding, who has no background in healthcare, is married to a Tory MP and is a close friend of David Cameron. She immediately sub-contracted the service to countless small companies, without putting them out to tender, many of whom have no experience of this sort of thing and are owned by people she knows.

The U.K. government is rotten to the core.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The running of the new test and trace service was given to Dido Harding

That just reminded me of my hard slog through the Aeneid for 'O' level Latin. Child's play, though, compared with trying to fathom the cabal of confidence tricksters, anarchists and vulture capitalists that the good people of Blighty are getting royally Borised by.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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