OFFICIALS in Bolton have called Matt Hancock’s denial of issues in the testing process “insulting”.

Cllr Nick Peel, the Labour leader in the borough, said the Health Secretary needed to “get real” and listen to the evidence.

The representative for Tonge with the Haulgh said: “It’s quite insulting really, he needs to get real. A national report said that 80 per cent of people who tried to book a test couldn’t book one.

“These people aren’t making it up, there may well be enough test kits but the problem remains with the national booking system.

“There’s issues with the software that are clear and the government don’t appear to be making any effort to fix that."

Yesterday, Bolton MPs pushed Mr Hancock to fix a "failing" test system in the House of Commons. 

Bolton North East MP Mark Logan highlighted a shambolic case where one of his constituents was unable to get a test - until she put in a Wigan postcode. 

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

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.”

Their pleas came as people were turned away from Moor Lane Testing despite having an appointment after an IT glitch meant they did not get a QR code. 

Some people queued for over two hours before they were turned away, and have had to go through the chaotic booking process once again. 

Cllr Peel added: ”We've had stories where testing centres have been quiet and where they've had big long queues, the system clearly isn't fit for purpose.

"When he says it's not true that people can't get tests he needs to speak to local officials in Bolton who will give him the evidence – it's a national crisis.

"It's not impossible to get a test if you're prepared to sit on a computer for days on end or travel hundreds of miles to get one which most people can't do.

"Some people are also physically unable to access tests because they have no access to a car, the walk-in sites are too far from them, and they are unable to order a home testing kit." 

On Friday morning, the Health Secretary told Radio 4's Today programme that stories where people say there were no tests available should not be believed, as “there are tests in every part of the country”.

Downing Street also rejected claims that people are not able to get coronavirus tests in some areas of the country, insisting that the system is working.

When asked about testing levels, a Downing Street spokesman said: “We are ramping up capacity, or working to ramp up capacity in terms of tests.

“I am not aware of anything to suggest that tests are not available in some parts of the country.”