A FATHER from Dorchester has been unable to start his new job and his two children forced to miss school after his asthmatic son developed Covid-19 symptoms - and he was unable to book a test for days.

James Wilson described the test system as an 'utter shambles' as he isolates with his two children at their home in Poundbury.

The 37-year-old said his 14-year-old son William developed a chesty cough on Saturday, September 12 and he immediately made attempts to book a Covid-19 test.

But he says despite repeated attempts to book a drive-through test or a home testing kit online and over the phone, he had no luck for days. He was finally able to get a test in Warminster - approximately 45 miles away - yesterday and is currently awaiting the results.

Without a negative test result, he has had no choice but to keep his two children - William and his 13-year-old daughter Violet - away from Thomas Hardye School, in Dorchester.

Mr Wilson was also due to start training as a warehouse operative and van driver for Maiden Newton Clearance on Monday but has been forced to remain indoors and is unable to work.

Dorset Echo: Victoria (left), James (middle) and William (right) have finally got COVID-19 tests after days of tryingVictoria (left), James (middle) and William (right) have finally got COVID-19 tests after days of trying

He has worked at the company for a while but had been due to start training for his new role before being forced to isolate.

Department of Health and Social Care say they are facing 'a significant demand for tests' and state new booking slots and home testing kits are becoming more available. 

He said: “My son got unwell on Saturday and I began to look for tests straight away. I tried and tried the website every day since and I kept having the same response. 

“No home tests available and no tests sites either. They wouldn't even give a location, the site just said there were no locations available for both walk through and drive-through at all."

He added the uncertainty around whether his son has coronavirus has forced him and his family to self-isolate. 

After hours of trying online to book a test, he was initially able to schedule a test at a drive-through centre in Taunton for Tuesday evening (September 15).

Dorset Echo: The message that Mr Wilson frequently saw The message that Mr Wilson frequently saw

Yet as Mr Wilson selected the location, he was taken back to the beginning of the booking process.

“It's an awful and extremely stressful experience”, he said.

“I've no idea whether my son has Covid-19 or not. It is utter shambles. I've lost what little faith I had in the Government altogether.

He said he was pleased to finally have secured a test in Warminster.

"I really want to get it done because if we are all ok I just want to get back to normal and go to work," he added.

A recent visit to the Government’s coronavirus testing website states the service “is currently very busy” and warns that users will be unable to get a test via the 119 helpline. 

It adds: “More tests should be available later. If you cannot book a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours.”

It comes after one mother from the Weymouth area was recently told to travel more than 600 miles to Scotland to undergo a coronavirus test for herself and son.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said that more tests are being made available and noted that those without coronavirus symptoms are taking tests. 

He said: “NHS Test and Trace is working and our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests including from people who do not have symptoms and are not otherwise eligible.

"New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for those who need them and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster. 

“If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”