Woman describes how she applied more than 100 times for a Covid test in Milton Keynes - only to be told none are available.
A woman has told how she went on the government website every hour of the day for five days in a fruitless bid to book a Covid test.
She was trying to organise a test for a friend whose schoolgirl daughter has been showing coronavirus symptoms since the middle of last week.
The girl, who is 15, attends Stantonbury International School, where at least 16 students and teachers have recently tested positive for Covid-19. But she is not in any of the year groups or bubbles that have been sent home to self-isolate.
"She developed a high temperature, felt groggy and lost her sense of taste and smell, so her mum immediately decided to keep her isolated at home and book a test," said the friend.
"But we had no idea how difficult it would be. The mum was trying repeatedly on the gov.uk website but was getting one of two messages each time. The first said there was an error in the system and the second just stated no tests were available in her area.
"I decided to help help, so I logged on every hour of the day, every day. But all I got was the same two messages."
Each time there is a series of questions to answer before the message comes up. The 'no tests available' message advises users to "try again in a few hours", while the system error message refers them to the customer service centre.
"Here you go through the same questions you've already answered when you logged on - then you're told no tests are available," said the friend.
Meanwhile the city's test centre in Grafton Gate continues to be quiet at certain times of the day.
"I just don't understand it," said the woman.
After more than 100 attempts between them, the girl was offered a test last night. But it was in Leighton Buzzard - and the mum, who has health problems that place her in the vulnerable category, does not drive and could not get her there.
Finally, after more log in attempts and phone calls, she struck success at 6am this morning.
"She's been offered a home testing kit. It's being posted out to her then she has to post it back. Once they have the result the will message it to her via text or email," said the friend.
"The government states in the media that plenty of tests are available but this is not right."