Luton North MP tells government to 'get a grip' on Covid-19 testing as residents travel to Leicester for tests

Luton North Labour MP Sarah Owen has today the government they urgently need to "get a grip" on the country’s coronavirus testing situation.

By Stewart Carr
Thursday, 17th September 2020, 2:58 pm

Ms Owen has described Luton residents spending hours pressing refresh on the government's testing website for up to 48 hours, with a number of people being told to go to Leicester for a test.

During a debate in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday), Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that accessing a test in Luton has been possible..

He told Ms Owen that 484 people in Luton had received a test on Monday, but the Luton North MP has challenged this figure based upon her caseload of parents, teachers and even a vicar having to miss work as they had symptoms but were unable to get tested.

MP Sarah Owen is urging the government to improve access to testing

Ms Owen said: “The government promised us a ‘world beating’ testing system. If they think people in Luton being sat at their computer for two or three days pressing refresh is ‘world leading’, then they’re not just incompetent, they’re completely out of touch.

“I really want them to get this right. Everyone’s health depends on them getting this right. I’ve been working hard, day after day with MPs of all parties on Parliament’s Health Committee to try and get this right, but at every turn this government somehow finds a new way to let us down.”

The delayed NHS Test and Trace app is expected to launch on September 24, after originally being pencilled in by the government for a launch in May.

As of today (Wednesday), the total number of coronavirus cases in the borough stands at 1,853, three more than the previous day.

Ms Owen added: “On care homes, on PPE, on testing, on protecting jobs threatened because of covid, they’ve been slow off the mark and it’s meant more people have got sick, more jobs have gone and more families have lost loved ones.

“If people can’t get the tests they need, cases will continue to rise. They need to get a grip quickly, before more people catch this terrible virus.”