WIRRAL'S MPs have urged the government to ensure protective equipment and clothing is delivered to frontline NHS and care staff 'as a matter of urgency' to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak safely.

Margaret Greenwood, Alison McGovern, Angela Eagle and Mick Whitley made their plea in a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP following 'serious concerns' raised during meetings with health and council bosses.

They also called on the government to speed up testing of all frontline workers who are risking their own health to treat seriously ill patients and care for the vulnerable.

In Wirral, so far, there are now 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three people have died from the virus.

In their letter to health secretary Matt Hancock, Wirral's MPs wrote: "The outbreak of Covid-19 is a global crisis and it is frontline healthcare workers across the world who are leading the response.

"The dedication and bravery of staff working in hospitals and other care settings throughout Wirral cannot be overstated.

"It is imperative that frontline staff are able to access the protective equipment they need to care for their parents safely during this crisis.

"Reports of health and care workers being left to treat patients without the proper equipment are a matter of deep concern.

"Having spoken with front-line NHS staff and leaders in Wirral and local care providers, we wish to represent the serious concerns that they have raised about the scarcity of adequate personal protective equipment for people who work in health and care in Wirral.

"We understand the NHS in Wirral has requested additional PPE, but has been told that there have been problems with the supply chain.

"We urge the Government to make all possible efforts to ensure that protective equipment and clothing are delivered to frontline health and care staff as a matter of urgency.

"Any delay in this equipment reaching hospital trusts and local authorities puts NHS and care staff at further undue risk.

"It also increases the risk to patients and the general public.

"It is critical, too, that testing for Covid-19 is widely available for NHS and care workers.

"We are calling the government to speed up testing of all those frontline workers who are risking their own health to treat seriously ill patients and care for the vulnerable.

"We cannot let them down by delaying any longer.

"Testing frontline workers is a necessity, from both a clinical and workforce perspective, to both safeguard the health of staff and prevent transmission to their colleagues and patients, as well as to ensure that staff who do not have the virus are able to continue working.

"Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, is calling on countries to "Test. Test. Test."

"Mass testing alongside contact tracing for anybody showing symptoms of the virus has proven highly successful in nations such as South Korea.

"We would, therefore, urge the government to initiate a universal testing and contact-tracing programme as part of its measures to flatten the curve.

"Wirral NHS leaders and care providers have also highlighted their concerns about the local capacity for testing to Public Health England.

"Currently, tests are sent from Wirral to Manchester to be processed with results coming back within three to four days. To speed up this process, would the government consider expanding capacity through the use of laboratories in universities and pharmaceutical companies in the Merseyside region?

"Issues around capacity for testing should have been predicted and addressed far earlier.

"The Prime Minister's recent announcement that testing will be increased to 25,000 tests a day over the next four weeks is welcome, but the process needs to be accelerated and we need to see increased testing and contact tracing now."