BOLTONIANS say they are finding it impossible to get a coronavirus test in the borough ­— despite the increasing rate of cases.

A mobile testing centre at the Last Drop Village Hotel had to delay its opening at the weekend due to the external business hired to run it failing to turn up.

The testing site was due to open on Saturday ­— but people who arrived looking for a test were left waiting and sent home to do their own test.

Bolton Council said the testing site was part of a number being set up in response to the town's increased coronavirus infection rate.

A town hall spokesman said: “It is one of a number of national sites set up in response to the increasing rate of infection in Bolton, and was due to open on Saturday, run by an external business, who failed to turn up in the morning.

“Thanks to the dedication of council staff, Greater Manchester Police, and the Last Drop Village Hotel we have been able to step in and arrange for the testing facility to open.

“We’re working with the government and their partners to find out what has happened.

“Although this was out of our hands, we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused our residents.”

Adele Lamas, 53, from Great Lever, who classes as vulnerable as she has asthma and is self-isolating with her family has been trying to get a test since being turned away from the Moor Lane testing site in Bolton town centre on Saturday.

Her daughter, who is in year eight at Mount St Joseph’s school, has also been asked to self-isolate due to a pupil testing positive for coronavirus in her bubble.

Both have developed symptoms but are unable to book a test online.

She said: “Me and my two girls went down on Saturday morning because we couldn’t book online but when we got there they said they’d stopped testing people without an appointment.

“They said the labs are at full capacity and to try my luck online.

“It’s been near enough impossible, I’ve been trying since then, staying up until 3am on Sunday, I’ve hardly slept just trying to get tested.

“I’m classed as vulnerable and lost my sense of small so it’s really worrying not being able to get a test and having no way of knowing if we’ve got it.

“We’ve all been trying to follow guidelines and be careful, wearing out masks everywhere, but it seems like a lot of people don’t care anymore.

“Vulnerable people like myself have been told we can safely go out again but with Bolton having the highest cases and not being able to get a test I think we’ll need to be extra careful again."

Dozens of other residents contacted The Bolton News to say they have been unable to book a local test online.

One even said they had travelled to Telford, in Shropshire, after being given the test slot online.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “NHS Test and Trace is working, our capacity is the highest it has ever been and but we are seeing a significant demand for tests.

“New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for people with symptoms and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster.

“If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”

The leader of Bolton Council has sent a strong message to the government to fix the national testing system for Bolton residents.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “We completely understand how frustrating it is for people who are finding it difficult to book a test. This is an unacceptable situation, and myself and senior officers have escalated the issue to the highest levels.

“In our experience, there are major flaws with the online booking system, but this is a nationally run site, which is not locally run and is out of our control.

“We, as a local authority have done everything asked of us. Our teams have been working hard to increase testing capacity in Bolton – two new test centres have opened in the borough and a third is due to open this week; and yet we know these two new sites are currently operating below capacity, and our own residents cannot access a local test.

“This is unacceptable and it needs to get sorted and the issues resolved, and I urge Government to treat this as a matter of the utmost priority.

“We would ask people to try booking an appointment in a few hours. Also, please only book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or you have been asked to get tested.”