Anger over claims South Tyneside patients with virus symptoms were told to travel 70 miles for test

South Tyneside’s MPs have rounded on PM Boris Johnson over the government’s under-fire coronavirus testing system.

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Jarrow’s MP Kate Osborne told him her constituents were having difficulty getting a test.

She demanded to know what had happened to the Government’s claims England had a world-leading system, asking Mr Johnson directly: “Where is it?”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And away from the Commons South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck also hit out, claiming some constituents were traveling over 70 miles to Carlisle to be tested.

MPs Kate Osborne and Emma Lewell-Buck have slammed Boris Johnson's government over virus testing.MPs Kate Osborne and Emma Lewell-Buck have slammed Boris Johnson's government over virus testing.
MPs Kate Osborne and Emma Lewell-Buck have slammed Boris Johnson's government over virus testing.

Mrs Lewell-Buck said that was unacceptable, accused the Government of being run by “amateurs”, and added: “It’s the latest in a long line of incompetence.

“We have two test centres in South Shields, so the big question is why are people being asked to go to Carlisle?

“It’s hard to understand how stressful it must be for someone who is unwell being told they have to travel for two hours to be tested.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Labour MPs spoke out amid criticism nationally of the Covid testing system which is claimed to be faltering under increased demand.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has said the problem lies in part with people without Covid symptoms seeking tests.

And it comes amid a sharp rise in South Tyneside and nationally in the number of people testing positive.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Ms Osborne said: “Yesterday the Health Secretary said, and I quote, ‘We have the largest testing system imaginable’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Yet in my constituency of Jarrow, which is one of the Government’s areas of concern, people are struggling to get a Covid test.

“This isn’t criticism or an attack on our NHS, but it’s months since the Prime Minister promised us all a world-leading test, track and trace system. So I ask him, where is it?”

Mr Johnson said he had “every sympathy” for anyone who wanted a test, adding: “We will do everything we can to address the issues in Jarrow and across the country.

“I would just remind her that NHS test and trace has so far conducted 17.6 million tests which is more than any other European country, so she should at least take some pride in that.”

Read More
Read more: The latest Covid-19 case figures for South Tyneside

A message from the Editor:

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.Subscribe to the Shields Gazette website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit here to sign up. You can subscribe to the newspaper with 20% off here. Thank you.