London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for action on the coronavirus testing “chaos and confusion”.
The Labour mayor told London Assembly Members: “This is a critical moment in the fight against Covid-19. Many Londoners are being told there are no testing sites available in London.
“The delays are preventing frontline workers from being able to do their jobs, and children are being kept away from their classrooms unnecessarily.
“This failure is putting lives and livelihoods in jeopardy. We’ve known for months now that come the autumn demand for testing would increase. This crunch point should have been foreseen, and then avoided.
“And unless the Government massively ramps up testing capacity in London we’ll be back to where we started: trying to halt the spread of the virus in the dark.
“Nothing is more important than a fully functioning test, trace and isolate system if we are to prevent a devastating second wave, and time is fast running out.“
This week hundreds of people were turned away from a Covid-19 test centre in Essex as demand for the service outstripped supply.
Some parents who couldn't get a test in Southend had been queueing from 7am and said they were unable to work or send their children to school.
"A family crossed over to the car park as I was getting out and the lady said to me I wouldn't even bother getting in the queue - we've been turned away after queueing half an hour already because there are no more available tests," said Sherri Ponsford who lives nearby.