Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:37 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe) 12:37 pm, 15th September 2020

With covid cases doubling every week, it is clear that laboratory capacity for diagnostic testing is not keeping pace with demand, leading to testing slots being cut. For example, only 70 new covid cases were reported in Scotland yesterday, yet 267 were reported today, many from tests carried out over the weekend. With a reported backlog of 185,000 tests, is the Secretary of State not concerned that results will not be received quickly enough to allow timely contact tracing, and that the delay in data means that new outbreaks will not be identified until they are out of control? Last week, the Secretary of State appeared to accept that additional NHS funding could allow hospital laboratories across the UK to rapidly increase their testing capacity, so can he confirm whether he plans such an approach, and on what timescale?