OLDHAM West and Royton MP Jim McMahon has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock detailing three key requests based on Oldham’s experience of dealing with coronavirus.

In the letter Mr McMahon asks the health secretary to urgently reconsider the way the Department collects the data of those working in high risk occupations and repeats his call for routine workplace testing to get ahead of any outbreaks.

The third and final ask is regarding childcare, an issue that many constituents have been in touch with Jim about given the social restrictions in Oldham.

Mr McMahon asks that the department reviews the restriction which prevents extended family members to provide childcare to support parents going back to work.

The MP said: “We’re more than six months into the pandemic now and it’s time for us to start looking at the lessons we’ve learned along the way to better improve our response.

“One thing that’s clear to me is that our efforts to build a robust evidence base on the source of transmission is being hampered by the lack of occupational data being collected.

"Simply making this information be a required point when interacting with the online booking system would give us a much clearer picture of high-risk occupations.

“Just knowing that certain occupations are high-risk is only the beginning of the story, and so we urgently need to start doing routine testing in the workplace to find any cases before they spread and cause a spike.

"One of the things I picked up whilst out with Team Oldham was that many people working in transport, retail, factories and warehouses just hadn’t been tested yet and that can’t be allowed to continue.

“My email inbox has been full of questions from constituents asking how they’re supposed to get back to work, as the government is encouraging everyone to do, if members of their extended family aren’t allowed to offer the support they usually do.

"Childcare can be expensive and unpractical with the shifts that people work. I think that this restriction, as a result of it being impractical, is not being observed and is undermining the basis of other restrictions too.”