Letter to Health Secretary: Sort out local testing!
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Department of Health and Social Care 39 Victoria Street London SW1H 0EU
Dear Secretary of State,
We are writing to you to raise the concerns of our residents and schools across Wandsworth regarding access to coronavirus testing.
Local parents have told us how they have had to drive 100 miles for a test and another who had to pay £250 for a private test, hiring a car to take them to be tested, as they were unable to book a test using the Government's system. Others have told us that they tried for several days to obtain a home test and were repeatedly told that the 'service is busy' while others have shared experiences of driving an hour to a pre-booked test, only to be turned away because of a system error.
As I am sure you can imagine, the impact of this has been significant. Local headteachers have told us that they do not feel supported and that covering the costs for staff who are self-isolating, while they wait for tests, is draining their budgets. Meanwhile, residents are spending days in limbo - either waiting to book a test or waiting for the results to come back - all while managing their symptoms and not knowing whether they have the virus or not.
With schools having only returned not even two weeks ago, the number of enquiries that we have received from local headteachers and parents, are deeply alarming, and should act as a wake up call ahead of winter.
We are concerned that if access to testing and test results are not improved soon, the effect on the finances of local schools will be irreversible and many more residents will be forced to self-isolate - missing work and school as a result.
We are requesting improved access to testing, much needed increased capacity, and establishment of a permanent, high capacity testing site in Wandsworth, so that local residents can access the tests they desperately need.
We look forward to hearing from you.
SIGNED Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour MP for Tooting Marsha De Cordova MP, Labour MP for Battersea Fleur Anderson MP, Labour MP for Putney Councillor Leonie Cooper AM, Leader of Wandsworth Labour