A MOTION that would have resulted in NHS workers to be tested weekly for coronavirus was voted against by 331 MPs last week.

The Labour leader and other members of the party brought the motion to Parliament, however it was voted down by Conservative MPs including the majority of the region's Conservative MPs.

Carl Quartermain, Labour Leader for Redcar & Cleveland, said: "Why on earth would Conservative MPs vote against a motion to ensure our NHS and Social Care staff heroes are being tested for Covid-19 regularly, so as to not endanger their lives? Even locally Jacob Young MP and Simon Clarke MP voted against this motion.

“How dare they turn their backs on not only these workers we have been celebrating week after week but also jeopardising the health and lives of all those people needing the services, many who also have been patiently shielding while waiting to go in for vital surgery and treatments.

“The government’s focus on test and trace is all over place. They’ll tell you they will follow outbreaks in our communities but they have not provided Local Resilience Forums the guidance or tools they need to adequately monitor outbreaks or how they would manage localised lockdowns.

“They have not produced an adequate Test, Track and Trace system but instead are wasting money hand over fist. The money wasted could be going towards regularly testing our NHS and care workers thereby protecting those on the frontline running our clinical services and those most likely to die if they contracted the virus - the elderly, those with underlying health issues and the most clinically vulnerable.”

In response Simon Clarke MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: "It must be a day ending in “y”, because Labour are trying to alarm people about the NHS again. There are two myths I want to debunk before people get scared by misleading stories:

"Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a Commons debate on coronavirus testing for NHS staff. Labour are trying to suggest we are against this entirely because we voted against their motion that this should be weekly.

"The reality is that we are following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, as the Minister Helen Whately made clear in her speech. Testing will be fortnightly or more frequently depending on the local and national situation. Like every one of my constituents, I want the best possible support for our NHS workers on the frontline, and we are following professional advice - not that of the opposition sadly trying to squeeze party advantage out of this question."

Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: "I voted against Labour's motion because we should follow the testing approach as outlined by the Chief Medical Officer, not the Labour Party. NHS and Social Care staff still have priority when it comes to tests and we provide tests to symptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak. If any NHS or SC staff need a test, they will get one. The motion was simply party politics and has led to unnecessary anxiety within the sector."

Peter Gibson MP for Darlington, said: "This week Labour sought to suggest we are against testing, because we voted against their motion. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that motions from the opposition on opposition debate days are invariably going to be opposed by the Government benches. The motion that they put to the house to express it thanks to the heroic work of frontline NHS staff who have saved lives throughout the pandemic, this motion was unanimously agreed to by the whole house. I am assured by Ministers that they have taken steps over the last few months to quickly increase our capacity to test. They assure me that our exceptional frontline NHS staff with symptoms can quickly access a test staff who are asymptomatic are able to access a test if needed. Testing capacity has reached more than 250,000 tests daily from around 12,000 a day in March. I know there has been incredible levels of local testing of staff undertaken by the NHS for many months, and I pay tribute to the fantastic work of our local NHS trust. The NHS testing strategy was set out based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer who recommended that testing happens fortnightly ‘or more frequently’, and I understand that this advice is constantly under review. Clinical advice is to focus intensive asymptomatic testing in those areas or settings identified to have high prevalence. Staff working with patients on wards, for example, 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. At the start of this crisis, we made sure that NHS was supported at its time of need. The goal was clear that, however tough things got, the NHS would never fall short of that founding promise to be there for somebody who needs it. It meant taking difficult decisions and, as we rebuild and refocus on delivering for all those on the waiting list. I will continue to support our brilliant NHS staff throughout this pandemic, ensuring they have access to the equipment, tests and support they need as they continue to control the virus and save lives."