LOCAL MPs opposed a motion that would have led to weekly testing of NHS workers and care staff last night.

It was voted down by more than 300 MPs, including Maria Miller, Kit Malthouse and Ranil Jayawardena. 

MP Maria Miller, said: "I completely support the Chief Medical Officer’s NHS staff testing programme, which has been put in place by clinical experts.

"This programme prioritises testing of all NHS staff with symptoms, regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, and regular surveillance testing of staff. 

"Testing is also focused on those most at risk, staff working with patients on wards, who will benefit from regular testing far more than NHS staff working in offices or administrative roles where they do not come into regular contact with patients.

"It is regrettable that people are being led to believe that staff in Basingstoke Hospital are not being tested for Covid-19 when in fact our Hospital has led the way from the start of the pandemic, developing new ways to identify this virus.

"It is unfortunate that this debate in Parliament, lacked any detail on such an important issue and will unfortunately worry constituents.

“I applaud the hard work and dedication of all the NHS staff in Basingstoke, care workers and other medical professionals and I will continue to do all I can throughout this pandemic to make sure they have access to the equipment, tests and support they need.”

MP Kit Malthouse said: "Reports that I and my colleagues voted against regular testing for NHS workers is completely untrue, and came off the back of an Opposition Day Debate.

"These debates are an opportunity for the opposition to table motions about issues that concern them - and their outcomes are not binding on the government or anybody else.

"As often is the case, this week’s Opposition Day Debate was sadly used to create provocative headlines rather than work together and come up with constructive solutions to the problems we face. 

"We have been prioritising NHS staff and their families throughout this crisis, and making sure they can be tested whenever they need to be.

"All along we have been following the best advice possible including from our Chief Medical Officer and the British Medical Association. 

"I will always back our NHS - and I hope as we move forward from Covid, all sides work constructively rather than scaring people with false stories.”

Proposed by Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, alongside Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Jon Ashworth and Liz Kendall, the motion called on the Government to "implement a routine weekly testing programme for all NHS and social care staff to enable NHS services to safely resume and ensure the continuity of services throughout the winter".

Lead organiser for grassroots group Nurses United UK, Anthony Johnson, responded to the news: “At first I was confused about why this Government would do this before I remembered that they don’t serve the people, they serve their donors.

“When every single global health body has recommended track and trace and substantial investment in testing the only reason you would ignore it is if you thought you could get by with a milk toast effort to defeat this disease.

“This Government has shown that they value sound bites above action and nurses will not stand for it.”

But a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said the NHS would “continue to routinely and strategically test asymptomatic front-line staff”.

“We will continue to ensure the NHS has everything it needs to provide the high-quality care the public expect, and we have already provided a significant number of new CT scanners, X-ray machines and portable ultrasounds as part of the response to Covid-19".

The Gazette has contacted MP Ranil Jayawardena for comment, who is yet to respond.