FIX the ‘failing’ test, track and system NOW ­— that’s the demand from residents and local MPs as people were turned away from Moor Lane Testing despite having an appointment.

People desperate for a coronavirus test were refused a kit because, despite following the booking process, an IT glitch meant they did not get a QR code.

And one Bolton MP told how a local resident was only able to get a test when they put in a Wigan postcode.

The Moor Lane chaos came as protestors gathered in the town centre calling on the Government to ‘stop playing politics’ with people's lives and nationalise the system.

Midwife Tina Hartnup told The Bolton News that her son was turned away from the town centre testing centre after queuing for two hours.

This means she is unable to go to work until her son is tested and a negative result is recorded.

Tina from Darcy Lever said: “After constantly checking email and phone, the code wasn’t received so we took a screenshot of our booking details and went anyway.

“The vast majority of people there hadn’t received their codes either. The amount of people being turned away and subsequent wasted appointments is disgraceful.

“Despite our pleas, they were having none of it. So now we have a further broken system where even if you can get a test appointment.

“My son has managed to get another appointment at the Etihad but no QR code, why can’t they search the system by date of birth, which is what the NHS does?

“I’m desperate to get back to work but cannot until he can get a test. I don’t know whether to try and get a home test or just keep trying.”

Another said heated exchanges resulting in a ‘near riot’ took place after people queued for so long to be turned away.

Bolton MPs today demanded answers from Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Parliament.

The borough continues to have the highest coronavirus infection rate in the country, with no signs the virus is close to being contained.

Bolton North East MP Mark Logan highlighted another shambolic case ­— as the People Before Profit Health Worker Activists Group called for the covid-19 test, trace and track to be nationalised.

Nurse Karen Reissmann, who was at town centre protest, said: “We are here because the test, trace and track that the Government has put in that they have given to private companies is completely failing. The infection rate is growing and it is about time this Government stopped playing with politics and stopped giving contracts to their favourite companies to make money and start giving it to people who actually know what they are doing ­— which is the local public health and the local council.”

Ms Reissmann said the present system is putting people’s health and the economy at risk.

She argued this is because workers are not able to go back to work until their test result is through ­— and schools are unable to shut class ‘bubbles’ until they are notified of a positive test.

She said an effective system where people were not waiting sometimes days, to get a test or results could stop the virus.

She said: “We now have people off work because they are self-isolating and these people could be in work if they are not positive but are waiting days for their results.”

Speaking in Parliament Mr Logan called for the Government to fix the national portal, remove the backlog, ramp up tracing.

He said: “A constituent of mine failed to get a test in Bolton, then she tried using a Wigan postcode and succeeded in getting a test for Bolton.

“Remove the backlog on testing results, people are having to wait too long before getting results. Ramp up contact tracing, senior leadership at my local authority informed me that they do not have the resource to deliver what is needed.”

Fellow MP Chris Green spoke about how Bolton’s ‘rocketing’ infection rates were having a “devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health”

He told the Commons: “Many people are heading out of the borough to get their beauty treatments, go to the pubs and restaurants.

“At the same time the testing system is failing to deliver so people are increasingly going to accident and emergency in Bolton and Wigan in the hope of getting a Covid test.”

Cllr Nick Peel, leader of Bolton Labour Group said: " This latest mess further underlines that the national booking system is simply not fit for purpose. There were obviously issues with the software, when it became apparent that there was no geographical element built into the appointment system, so the Government need to stop living in denial and get it fixed.

"When we get to the point when even Tory MPs and the Tory run council start to join in the every growing criticism, then you know we really are in trouble. 

"People in Bolton are scared and they are angry, so its no good the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, saying we will have to put up with this incompetence for another 2 weeks."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock reiterated the plea for people to not visit A&E for a test, and praised the Royal Bolton Hospital for their hard work.

He said: “People should not go to A&E to access a test, I’ve seen that was being reported yesterday and my team have been working with the hospital – who are doing a very good job in difficult circumstances.

“They are seeing the number of hospital admissions with coronavirus starting to rise.”

As of 9am yesterday, 32 people were being treated at the hospital for coronavirus.

Mr Hancock also urged every resident to follow the guidance.

He added: “The situation in Bolton is very difficult, with over 200 cases per 100,000 population, the highest in the country by a long, long way and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get the situation under control.

“All the people in Bolton should listen to the public health advice.”

A Bolton Council spokesperson said: “We are incredibly frustrated by why has happened today at the Moor Lane test site.

“Something has clearly gone wrong with the national booking system.

“We understand there were IT issues with the government portal, which could have resulted in people either not receiving QR codes or appointments being double booked.

"It has unfortunately meant that people have been turned away despite having appointments.

“It also caused a huge backlog of traffic which resulted in parts of the town coming to a standstill earlier today.

“Council staff physically went to the centre and insisted that people were not turned away, which did help somewhat and motorists were then allowed in.

“We are awaiting an explanation from the government as to what has gone wrong and we urge them to fix this.

“This cannot be allowed to happen again.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 200,000 a day on average over the last week – with the vast majority of people getting tested within 6 miles of their home.

“People who have booked a valid appointment at a testing site will receive a test. If someone turns up with the wrong QR code for a site, they will be turned away from the site and advised to go to the correct site they booked on.”

“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.”