PARENTS in Barrow have been urged not to 'simply show up' at Furness General Hospital (FGH) for a Covid test without a prior booking.

Reports of town residents having to travel long distances within and beyond Cumbria in order to access a test have accumulated over the past week, leading some Barrovians to turn up at FGH in the hope of getting a test.

But Cumbria's public health director, Colin Cox, said yesterday: "Testing availability is under pressure across the country.

"In Barrow we have been working to improve testing availability, including moving two mobile testing units into Barrow this week from elsewhere in the county. These units are all available to view and book via the national online system.

"Testing appointments are uploaded into the national system in ‘batches’ at points through the day. People are advised to try the website at different times during the day, early and late, to have the best chance of booking a local test.

"Specifically for school children, if parents and carers are still having trouble getting a local test for their child via the national online system they should contact their child’s school. The school will be able to make a referral for testing at a local NHS testing site. The parent will then be contacted directly by the local NHS team."

Local NHS testing cannot be accessed without a referral and anyone attending without a booking will be turned away. In addition, people should not call local hospitals to access testing.