A KEY WORKER from Bradford who was told the nearest available coronavirus testing centre was in Oldham has branded the service "stressful".

The mum-of-two, who did not want to be named, was instructed to arrange tests by her daughter's school in a call to report her absence.

She has been trying to get a test for her 10-year-old daughter since 8am after she suddenly fell ill with a sore throat.

There are no home testing kits currently available, she revealed.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, the Low Moor resident said: "There’s no parents or children showing any symptoms. When I called this morning just to tell them she was unwell, full of cold and she wasn’t well enough to go – which is unlike her – they checked the guidelines and she did need to have a test.

"School had asked me to call 111. That’s what I did initially. There’s a support number to call. It runs through a spiel for you and then it tells you the lines are extremely busy. The call just cuts off. I’ve tried that several times today so I thought well, I’ll try and do it online.

"I went onto the website, put all our details in and it came up with Oldham – 22.2 miles away.

"I was just gobsmacked. I just thought, where is the service for me? I’ve been a key worker throughout all of this but when I need a service there isn’t for me. I then have to go all the way there and there’s not actually a guarantee I can get a test, with a child that’s poorly too.

"It’s stressful."

She added: "My daughter is going to have a severe impact on her education the longer she’s off. The same with my husband and my son, it’s going to have an impact. It’s affecting the community we’re serving. If her test came back negative, she’s quite prone to tonsillitis but it could be four days. She can’t go to a GP until she’s had a test."

As a constituent in the Bradford South ward, she raised the issue with her MP Judith Cummins who has received a number of similar calls.

The MP raised the issue in parliament this morning, referencing a constituent who had been trying to get a test for her eight-year-old asthmatic son since yesterday.

Read more about that here...

The Acting Leader of the House Stuart Andrew, who represents our neighbouring Pudsey constituency, replied, “I thank the honourable member and, of course, being a neighbouring Member of Parliament I know exactly the issue she is facing with regards to Bradford. As I said a moment ago, we are testing thousands and thousands of people. There are some issues I accept. I will certainly raise those with the Secretary of State.”

The mum who spoke to the T&A said she was disappointed by the explanation.

She said: "It’s a one line explanation - to me that’s just a bit of a ‘Well, we’ll pacify people, we’ll tell them we’re doing all we can’. They’re obviously not, the proof is here. There are thousands and thousands of people that need tests that are not available to them.

"It would help sending home tests out as you will have people that don’t have nobody to take them. They’re going to have to use public transport or a taxi.

"I know there were more vulnerable people out there that would have found the situation a lot more stressful and unaccessible. They would have really struggled. Moving forwards the Government needs to do something.

"I’m extremely worried. It only takes one person to have these symptoms and they can spread extremely quickly."

The Telegraph & Argus contacted the department for Health and Social Care about the claims.

It said there are plans to increase the number of testing sites to 500 by the end of October and expects to open 17 more this week.

There are also plans to make sure the distance limit does not go beyond 75 miles.

In response to the article, a spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is working, our capacity is the highest it has ever been and our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week.

“We are seeing a significant demand for tests but if you have symptoms we urge you to get tested. New booking slots and homes testing kits are made available daily and you can help protect yourself if you wash your hands, cover your face and make space.

“We are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, as well as prioritising at-risk groups and we recently announced new laboratory facilities and new technology to process results even faster.”