Councillor criticises central government after roll-out of coronavirus testing in Bedford

coronavirus testing

Two of Bedford’s councillors have responded to the roll-out of coronavirus testing facilities in the Borough.

And while there is a consensus that greater testing is necessary, Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio Holder for Public Health & Wellbeing has criticised central Government for the difficulties experienced by a number of residents on Wednesday (6 May).

After the testing facility was opened, there was confusion as patients weren’t given full details of its location.

Read: Confusion over location of temporary coronavirus testing site in Bedford

Labour’s Cllr Jackson said, “[Wednesday’s] chaos was created centrally, by a Government that appears to be so hell-bent on hitting a meaningless target, that it has forgotten its purpose.

“The Ministry of Defence and Clinical Commissioning group have been doing their best with the directions that have been handed down to them, but the Government have not made it easy at all.

“The good news is that we do now have well-run testing facilities in Bedford, currently at two sites.

“As we move forward we will need to do much more testing, and continue to provide local, accessible facilities and establish robust processes for dealing with the information that we get from those tests.

“Data must be fed back into the local system too, not up to a central point that will just tot up the numbers and push them back out again in a press briefing.”

Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock (pictured with former Conservative parliamentary candidate, Ryan Henson) has set a target for 100,000 tests per day

Cllr Graeme Coombes, leader of the Bedford Conservative Group, said, “Widespread testing for COVID 19 is crucial to get on top of the pandemic and protect the NHS.

“Mass testing will help to identify those with Coronavirus, so that they can self-isolate and stop it being passed on to others.

“The message on who can be tested is clear. Essential workers, those over 65 with symptoms, anyone with symptoms who can’t work from home and anyone who lives with someone from one of these groups.

“In addition, social care workers and residents in care homes can get tested, as well as those living with NHS workers who should get tested within 3 days of showing symptoms.

“Everyone needs to be aware whether they can get a test and if they can, they should do so.

“Councils need to clearly publicise where the test centres are and the criteria for testing, so that those who qualify and want a test can get one. This will ensure we reach the target for testing and help to save lives and protect the NHS.”

Referrals to mobile testing units can be made either by self-referral here or employer referral via

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