PRESS RELEASE: Lib Dems call for Government to act urgently to increase Covid testing capacity after reports of local people unable to access appointments

September 11, 2020 12:59 PM

Covid Test TubeResponding to growing concerns nationally and locally regarding coronavirus testing, Guildford & Cranleigh's Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson Zöe Franklin said:

"The past few days I have become increasingly concerned by the numbers of local people having issues getting access to coronavirus tests. I have received contact from local residents and seen many comments on social media complaining that they are unable to get a test appointment or are being offered an appointment many miles away.

I have spoken with Guildford Borough Council Leader Caroline Reeves who has advised me that the Council is doing everything it can to facilitate additional testing capacity locally and additional mobile testing sites were provided at Guildford College last weekend and will be available next week at Sutherland Memorial Park, Burpham. However, she has been informed that a significant part of the problem in terms of appointment availability is that laboratory capacity is unable to cope with the increasing demand for coronavirus tests and, as a result, appointments are being limited.

With schools having returned last week and us being encouraged by the Government to return to our workplaces, restaurants and some level of normality it is worrying that the system that is needed to enable this to be maintained lacks the capacity to do so. It is crucial that tests are available to everyone who needs them otherwise there is a real risk that families and individuals locally, plus their contacts, will end up having to self-isolate unnecessarily. The knock-on impact of this will be felt by people's personal finances and the local economy, just as it was starting to recover.

I am grateful to Cllr Reeves and the team at Guildford Borough Council for all the work they have done to support local people and businesses since the start of the pandemic, and ongoing work they are doing to keep people safe and facilitate testing. It is therefore deeply frustrating that this work is being hampered by issues with the Government's coronavirus system. It is crucial that the Government acts urgently to increase the level of testing available right now to keep people safe, prevent further outbreaks and ensure that further damage to our economy is kept to a minimum."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Mobile coronavirus testing units will be available in next week from 10.30am-4pm on Monday 14, Tuesday 15, Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 September at Sutherland Memorial Park, Clay Lane, Burpham, GU4 7LX

Appointments are for anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms and can be booked the night before, with some extra afternoon slots made available at lunchtime on each day. Book your test by visiting https://bit.ly/32HRVqd or call 119.