A parent was told to travel more than 200 miles to Scotland for their child to get a coronavirus test – due to a lack of availability in Coventry.

MP Taiwo Owatemi has raised the issue with health secretary Matt Hancock after the parent, one of her constituents, contacted her.

Ms Owatemi, who represents Coventry North West said the situation was “unacceptably disruptive” to parents.

The parent was told to drive to Moffat, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, to get a test for their child.

In a letter to Mr Hancock, Ms Owatemi said the distance the parent would have to travel is 216 miles, but Google Maps states the total driving distance from Coventry to Moffat is 253 miles, a journey of more than four hours and a round trip of eight-and-a-half hours – without taking into account the time it takes to get the test.



Google Maps screenshot showing the distance from Coventry to Moffat

Her constituent is not the only person to face the issue.

A spokesman for Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana confirmed that one of her constituents, also a parent, was unable to book a test locally due to lack of availability.

It comes as the rate of confirmed coronavirus cases has almost doubled in Coventry in the last fortnight.



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The latest available figures show that there is a rate in Coventry of 20.19 cases per 100,000 people, significantly higher than the rate of 11.57 for the seven days up to August 25.

There’s been a particular spike in the St Michael’s and Lower Stoke areas of the city, with residents urged to take action and avoid any risk of local lockdown. Coventry City Council has not disclosed the number of cases in these areas that led to the warning.

“Serious lack” of testing slots

This morning, Ms Owatemi published a letter she has sent to Mr Hancock, outlining the experience of one of her constituents.

His child had shown symptoms of coronavirus, and the parent was advised by the school to get him tested.



Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, outside Coventry health centre

But when trying to book a slot at a drive-in centre, he found a “serious lack of available slots in the local area,” Ms Owatemi said.

The parent was directed to a testing centre in Moffat, a distance of 216 miles away. He was told this was his nearest available option.

Ms Owatemi wrote: “I am sure that you can understand how difficult this is for parents in his position.

“Not only is such a journey inconvenient in itself – and more so if multiple children require testing at different times – but it is unacceptably disruptive for parents who must already juggle their own work with looking after their children in these difficult times.”

The MP has asked what steps are being taken in and near Coventry to increase testing capacity.





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