Labour MP and A&E doctor Rosena Allin-Khan was told by Matt Hancock to “take a leaf out of the shadow secretary of state’s book in terms of tone” when she asked the Health Secretary whether the lack of Covid-19 testing had cost lives.
During questions to the spokesperson on health and social care, Allin-Khan described how “frontline workers like me have had to watch families break into pieces as we deliver the very worst of news to them”.
She criticised the approach on both community and mass testing for the virus, saying that the government’s strategy had been “non-existent”, and claimed that the “testing figures are now being manipulated”.
She added: “Does the Secretary of State commit to a minimum of 100,000 tests each day going forward? And does the Secretary of State acknowledge that many frontline workers feel that the government’s lack of testing has cost lives?”
I will respectfully challenge the Government – I want our country to succeed.
However, I will not 'watch my tone' when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily.
A clip of my Q to the Health Sec today. pic.twitter.com/5jjQRXyIm3
— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) May 5, 2020
Hancock announced that the government had reached its 100,000 test per day target on April 30th, but this included 39,000 which were sent to households, had not been returned and for which there is no timeframe on their completion.
The figure dropped sharply the next day and on May 3rd there were only 76,500 tests carried out, despite continuing reports of a high demand for tests for key workers in the health and care sectors and others.
The UK’s coronavirus death toll is now the highest in Europe at 32,375, according to the Office for National Statistics. The number of confirmed cases is 190,584, but with low levels of testing the figure is thought to be much higher.