A NUMBER of Telegraph & Argus readers have reported problems with booking a Covid-19 test.

Much of the district is still subject to local lockdown restrictions and the infection rate is among the highest in the country.

We asked people how they had got on booking a test and many people reported issues.

Louise Munro said: "I struggled first thing Friday morning. Called 119 to be told it was because they had run out of tests and to try again in an hour.

"I went online an hour later and had to book a walk through one in Halifax as the closest drive through one was 62 miles away. Luckily I drive so this wasn’t too much of an issue for us, but I can see how people who don’t drive would find it hard."

Emma Louise Smith wrote: "My mum suffers with COPD and has a chest infection at the moment, the gp recommended she had a test just to rule covid out, I have tried to book online for a walk in test or a home one for the past 4 days and nothing!!! It just keeps saying no tests available what's she's supposed to do?! Ridiculous.""Kyrie Wild said:

"Told me to go to Oldham! Finally got a home test over the weekend after a whole week of trying. I have to be tested so I can go back to work this week after being off on annual leave."

Cait Smith wrote: "Was brilliant for me earlier in the year but now very, very difficult to get a test when finally got one - then came back as unclear after 60 hours of waiting and have to book another test."

Marie Healey said: "Yes I tried and then gave up. I bet I'm not the only one?"

Julia Russell said: "A young person I support has been trying for two days to no avail, been on hold each time for two hours to be told no tests, he has been to town, no tests, I have tried for hours today for him to no avail."

Abigail Lorraine Fletcher wrote: "I have tried all day to get my son one. Just says no test sites found."

Have you had problems? Get in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter, or email at newsdesk@telegraphandargus.co.uk

What has the Government said?

The Government is “surging capacity” in local lockdown areas and tests are available within a 10-mile radius, Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said it was unacceptable that people have been unable to get tests, adding: “Clearly there is much more work that needs to be undertaken with Public Health England and the actual public health bodies in those particular local areas.

“As a Government we work with Public Health England to surge where there is demand in local hotspot areas and we continue to do that.”

On access to testing, she said the majority of tests are available within a 10-mile radius.

“It seems to me there’ll be extreme cases where people can’t get to test locations within that radius but that doesn’t mean that Public Health England are not working night and day to boost capacity,” she added.

However, she said it was  “wrong to say” that there were no tests available after she was quizzed about the long delays in trying to book a test in Bolton where the infection rate is the highest in England.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: “Tests are available, you’ve heard me say, particularly in local lockdown areas, I’ve seen this myself, I’ve seen the teams that have been working on this.

“Mobile testing is going in, capacity is going into local areas where lockdowns have been undertaken and are taking place.

“I think it is wrong to say tests are not available, new book-in slots are being made available every single day, mobile testing units are being made available.

“And on top of that home testing kits are being issued across the country but specifically in local lockdown areas.”

A "surge in demand" for tests

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, who has been overseeing the Government’s antibody test programme and advising ministers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a “second wave” of Covid-19 had led to a surge in demand for tests.

He said: “I think what’s going wrong is the second wave.

“A month ago they had spare capacity in testing – significant spare capacity – but I think what has been underestimated was the speed at which the second wave would arrive, but also the pressure put on the system from children returning to school, and the testing demands associated with that, and people increasingly out and about.

“So, I think they are definitely behind the curve in terms of getting the necessary tests for what we need today.”

Sir John said there would be a “significant increase” in testing capacity over the next two weeks.

“But this will get worse because of course we haven’t hit winter yet – we haven’t all started to sniffle, get fevers, get colds, and that’s going to add additional confusion to the problem,” he said.

“The demand will go up. The real question is whether they can get supply in a position where it can outpace demand, and that’s the challenge at the moment.”