People across the North East have been told to travel hundreds of miles to get tested for coronavirus.

Patients have also been turned away from testing sites, even if they have booked and had a code.

Teesside Live understands that residents have been unable to get tested at the Newport Settlement Community Hub in Middlesbrough.

The site, which has a normal capacity for 400 tests per day, is understood to have only had 60 available.

Dozens of Teessiders took to social media to vent their anger at the fiasco, with some being offered tests 84 miles away in Bradford.

Mum-of-two Sam Gibson she was left “floored” after being offered a test over two hours away in Scotland.

The 44-year-old said she wanted to get herself and her two daughters Bethan, 16, and Abbie, 14, tested for the virus and had hoped to be able to drive half an hour from her home to Middlesbrough.

Sam said she tried to book them in at one of the test centres in the North East on Thursday.

However, after trying numerous times, the only testing site she was offered was Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.

Sam, from Brandon, County Durham, said: “I was floored! I’m not going to drive almost a 200 mile round trip to get myself and my children tested, especially when we don’t feel well.

“You don’t even get the choice to get a home kit, it comes up no home kits available.

The mum-of-two fears that people will return to school and work when they can’t get a test.

“People are going to be frightened and they are going to reach for the Covid tests. The Government would have known this. Where was the preparation for that?

“At the end of the day it was bad enough at the beginning of the year when we have got no tests at all.

Teesside MPs Alex Cunningham and Paul Williams have also slammed the fiasco hitting out at the fact “ill people are being forced to travel” – potentially spreading the virus as they travel the length and breadth of the country to be swabbed.

Earlier this week, NHS Test and Trace chief apologised for the chaos-hit system, which has told people to travel hundreds of miles for a Covid-19 test.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, director of Testing for NHS Test and Trace, tweeted: “Can I please offer my heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a COVID test at present.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it will be “a couple of weeks” before problems that have left people unable to get tested are “sorted in the short term”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is working and our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests including from people who do not have symptoms and are not otherwise eligible.

“New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for those who need them and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster.

“If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”


Coronavirus, Scotland, North East

World news – GB – Mum told to travel to Scotland for Covid-19 test

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