The DWP has written to its staff in Wales to instruct them to drive to test centres in England if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

In a letter seen by Plaid Cymru, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has written to its workers recommending them to travel to a test site in England.

The DWP is the UK’s biggest public service department, and while DWP colleagues are listed as critical workers in both England and Wales, they note that they do not currently have access to priority testing for coronavirus in Wales.

Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones said it was “absurd” that DWP colleagues based in Wales who have symptoms of the virus would have to make potentially long journeys to England just to get access to a test. Ms Jones said the decision making that has led to this situation “defies logic.”

The Welsh Government has previously confirmed that as much as 80% of its testing capacity is underused.

Helen Mary Jones, MP and Shadow Minister for Economy, Tackling poverty and Transport said:

“We should not be in the position where key workers in Wales have to travel to England to receive access to a test. “In Wales the message is clear – stay as close to your home as possible. However, if you’re a DWP colleague living in Wales exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you’re being asked to drive across the country to receive priority access to a test.

This situation is not only absurd, the decision making behind it defies logic. “Plaid Cymru has long been calling for increased testing capacity, and yet we learn that what we have isn’t being used and our key workers are being asked to travel to England to receive a test.

I would be interested to understand how the Welsh Government can deem a DWP key worker ineligible for priority access, when they have this in England.”