Today in Parliament, Lucy Allan MP raised the issue of prioritising care homes, hospitals and key workers for coronavirus testing.
In a question to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Lucy called on the Department to consider updating its guidance on coronavirus testing for babies and young children, who are significantly less vulnerable to the virus than those over the age of 16.
Particularly, she highlighted the prevalence of coronavirus-like symptoms in this age group despite the proportion of young people testing positive being extremely low and not increasing, unlike in other age groups.
As demand for testing increases, Lucy raised her concerns around multiple tests being given to very young children, and urged the Health Secretary to continue to prioritise key workers and those most vulnerable to the virus.
Lucy Allan MP said:
"Testing capacity is a finite resource, and it is right to consider prioritising care homes, hospitals and key workers.
Will my Rt. Hon Friend ask his department to also consider the issue of testing very young children?
This age group frequently experiences raised temperatures, coughs, colds and some parents are taking very young children for multiple tests when those children - in that age group - are unlikely to be out in the community spreading the virus.
People want to do the right thing. Nobody wants to overwhelm the system.
So will he continue to do all that he can to ensure that the system of testing is operating efficiently?"
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt. Hon Matt Hancock MP, said:
"Yes, I thank my Hon. Friend for that question which captures the challenges that we face.
Because it is absolutely true that children under the age of 16 are very very unlikely to get ill with coronavirus and indeed, the proportion of under 16s testing positive is extremely low and is flat whereas it's rising in many other age groups.
So she raises a point very clearly: the prioritisation that we have is about getting the tests that we have, record capacity, to the people who need them most."