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Shropshire Star comment: Testing issues are unacceptable

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

We have had many months to prepare for this moment.

Staff working at a Coronavirus testing centre at Temple Green Park and Ride

We knew that a second wave was going to hit. We also know that a third one will follow further down the line.

It is inexcusable, therefore, that the UK is unprepared, that testing is in disarray, that people cannot find out whether they are positive with Covid-19 or not.

The Prime Minister might point to a surge in demand, a spike in tests, or similar. Yet he has known that this moment would arrive.

In parts of our region and elsewhere in the UK the situation is chaotic. It is not acceptable.

The situation is a major concern. How can it be that the areas in the UK that are suffering the most infections do not have testing capacity?

How can it be that people from this part of the world are being told they must drive to Aberdeen to get a test?

It seems that spaces are down because of delays in getting the test processed. This is a critical failing on the part of Matt Hancock’s Health Department, which has had ample time to model the likely demand and to be prepared for it.

It is a simple issue of training the right staff in advance and being prepared.

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If we can build hospitals in a matter of days, surely we can train people to test medical kits when we have a whole spring and summer to do so.

The issues are worst in the very areas where testing needs to be ramped up because of increased virus rates.

These testing centres are in the hands of the Government and the agencies they employ. Councils are largely helpless.

Is it not now time for local authorities to be brought in, perhaps in conjunction with resources available locally in hospitals, to get a grip on this?

The Government’s centralised approach has not worked. It needs to devolve powers to local areas.

With schools being increasingly affected by suspected cases and the delays in testing, this is now a critical situation and we cannot afford to wait for “weeks” for an answer. Millions have been wasted and lives are being lost.

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