Constituents unable to get COVID-19 tests have been contacting Andrew. The medic MP said;
“The UK is now a world leader in the number of tests being done. Nevertheless capacity is being overwhelmed as children return to school and employees to workplaces with consequent uptick in seasonal snuffles. With whole households and contact groups facing the prospect of isolation, demand for testing has inevitably shot up.”
Andrew has received complaints about schools demanding test results that cannot be accessed before allowing children back and people being turned away at Warminster test centre despite there apparently being spare capacity. He said;
“I appreciate we are in uncharted waters but we must now urgently streamline and decentralise infectious disease control. I’m pleased ministers intend to upgrade public health governance but we also need to look at regrowing the regionally based Public Health Laboratory Service, perhaps looking to Germany for inspiration.”
On Tuesday Andrew collared Health Secretary Matt Hancock outside the Commons chamber to explain the situation on the ground as described to him by local people.
“Matt clearly recognises the gravity of the situation and the need for both dramatically increasing capacity and speeding up test results. In the meantime, its important to follow government guidelines and only ask for a test if you need one.”
On Friday Andrew visited high tech firm Binx Health in Trowbridge which is developing novel testing solutions for COVID-19. He has subsequently been in touch with the Department of Health to encourage it to examine how Binx can help in its efforts to improve testing.