THE government will look at getting Covid testing kits to nurseries after hearing how Dorset hospital workers might be left without childcare.

Tops Day Nurseries – which takes care of children at Poole and Bournemouth hospitals – had warned it might have to close sites entirely because so many staff were self-isolating.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood texted health secretary Matt Hancock about the crisis after being approached by the Daily Echo.

Mr Ellwood said the health secretary had been “welcoming of the idea”, which Mr Hancock had described as a “sensible proposal”.

Tops Day Nurseries closed its Poole Hospital site on Monday night but was able to open it for children of critical care staff yesterday.

In a letter to hospital bosses and MPs, managing director Cheryl Hadland said: “Tops Day Nurseries provides the early years care and education for your hospital staff children, and we want you to know that whilst we remain open to all children, we are having to close room after room as staff test positive (often with no symptoms), and we may have to close completely, imminently, due to lack of staff who are fit/allowed to work, which will of course be a major childcare headache for your staff and could prevent them working too.

“We currently have no access to testing or inoculations other than the access that the general public have, yet our nursery staff are in very close contact with the children, changing nappies, feeding etc. with no masks.

“Schools have already been sent free boxes of tests – yet they are closed.

“We have purchased additional thermometers, cleaning materials and a fogging machine, and risk assessments are in place, but we are experiencing a sharp increase in cases, and the government wants us to stay open. Please can you help?”

She asked for her day nursery staff to be prioritised for vaccinations along with NHS staff.

Ms Hadland said she had managers working evenings and weekends to try and organise “bubbles” of children and staff and to rearrange shifts. One “bubble” at Royal Bournemouth Hospital had to be sent home.

Mr Ellwood told the Daily Echo: “Hospitals are where the pressure is now. Many hospital staff have young children in those nurseries and therefore anything that keeps those nurseries going must be helpful to supporting our hard-working NHS staff.

“I hope this will be the first step and once this first phase of vaccination is completed, teachers across the education spectrum from childcare provision all the way through to senior schools will be next in line to receive the vaccine after the most vulnerable have received it.”

Poole MP Sir Robert Syms said he would take up the issue with the vaccines minister as “clearly they need to be up the list of priorities”.

New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne has also told Cheryl Hadland that he has urged the health secretary to “prioritise school and childcare workers” and would “continue to press”.