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Boris Johnson to face MPs as failed tests put NHS under enormous pressure

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Boris Johnson will face a grilling from senior MPs amid a warning that the failed testing and tracing system is putting enormous pressure on the health service.

As the system struggles to keep up with growing demand, people have turned to accidents and emergencies to request Covid-19 testing.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said on Tuesday that large numbers of patients have arrived at A&E to request tests.

Professor Donna Hall, chairman of the Trust, said residents of Bolton, which has the highest infection rate in England, tried to get tested through their GPs and hospital when they could not. not get them online or in mobile test units.

She told BBC Radio Fours The World Tonight: Today we had 100 people in our accident and emergency unit, with five ambulances lining up outside.

This failure of the test and traceability system is putting enormous pressure on the NHS and social services.

Professor Hall said the situation was now different from March when they recruited additional staff and were not to continue with planned operations.

She said: I saw rooms full of people. We now have 30 people positive for Covid and we have five people in our high addiction unit, so it is not going away, this virus is not going away.

When asked if more could have been done to avoid this situation, she said: I felt there was a real lack of a coherent strategy for all of the containment of Covid-19 and for testing and tracing.

The scathing criticism precedes the Prime Minister’s appearance in the Commons, where he will face high-ranking MPs who are likely to question him about the governments’ handling of the corornaviur crisis.

Mr Johnson will face Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner for PMQs at noon as Sir Keir Starmer remains in isolation as he still awaits a coronavirus test result for a family member.

The PM will then be confronted with questions from the presidents of the selected committees that make up the liaison committee.

With his government facing challenges on multiple fronts, Mr Johnson will be asked about the response to the pandemic, as well as the Brexit negotiations and the integrated foreign, defense, security and civil policy review. international Development.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted it could be a few weeks before testing issues were resolved, and announced on Tuesday that testing in England would be rationed.

He said there would be a prioritization of testing for people with acute clinical needs and those in social care settings, as he recognized the operational challenges of the system.

The updated list of priorities, which will define who will be at the top of the queue, has not yet been released.

Mr Hancock faced a barrage of complaints in the House of Commons about people being forced to travel long distances or even enter fake addresses in hopes of getting tested.

He said there had been a sharp increase in the number of people showing up for testing, including some who are not eligible, but government sources acknowledged that there was no specific data on this. latest.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson to face MPs in the House of Commons over governments’ handling of the coronavirus crisis (House of Commons / PA)

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the system issues were happening at the worst possible time.

He told BBC Twos Newsnight: I think we have two or three weeks to sort out these issues. If we don’t, the worry is well never to regain control as we move into the rest of fall and winter.

Leading figures in Whitehall are bracing for a harsh winter with the possibility of a further increase in Covid-19 cases among the more vulnerable elderly population.

This is going to be a problem for six months and I think anyone who thinks otherwise is extremely optimistic, a high profile source said.

While the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 was relatively low, the source said the direction of travel would only go one way, in my opinion, by the winter, which is on the rise.

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