A couple from Salisbury say they must have tried to book a coronavirus test "more than 50 times" to no avail.

Michael and Kay Forbes, from Bulford, developed Covid-19 symptoms earlier this week.

As of this morning, they still haven't managed to get tested despite spending every hour in the past two days trying to book a slot.

Mr Forbes, 60, called the system "an absolute shambles" and said it was clearly "not working".

The decision to go for a test was taken after Mr Forbes developed a cough and temperature on Tuesday September 8.

He said: "The first day I didn't think too much of it because all I had was a sore throat, it wasn't until the second day that I developed a cough and this is a Covid symptom."

On Wednesday, the pair started to apply for tests. However, like other residents in Salisbury, they were offered places in Aberdeen and Inverness.

The next day, after struggling with the online system, the furloughed worker and his wife drove to the testing centre at Beehive park and ride, having heard from a friend they could simply turn up.

He said: "We arrived at 10am and there was no other cars anywhere to be seen. We could see the testing station and there were no cars in the bays at all.

"We explained our situation but were told it was not possible to test us without a booking.

"I understand that they couldn't process us because we didn't have a booking but I didn't see one single car in that complex."

After calling 119, the number they had been provided with, the pair were offered places in Bristol and Tewksbury only to find out there were no slots available in the next two weeks.

On Thursday night, they were finally offered a test in Salisbury but despite booking a slot for 12.30pm today, the system failed and the booking was not processed.

"It's an absolute shambles, it's clearly not doing the job it's supposed to do. This system is just not working," said Mr Forbes.

"Most people's motive is to hopefully test negative and carry on with your life as best you can. We want to get tested because we've got things going on in our life and we don't want to put our life on hold unnecessarily if we don't actually have it.

"I just think the system is failing us."

Having been unable to get tested, the couple won't be able to see their grandchildren this weekend and are now planning to self-isolate for the next 10 days.

Mr Forbes added: "We're having to put our life on hold for 10 days but who knows if that is actually necessary.

"We'll probably keep trying but my motivation is starting to wane now.

"We've gone above and beyond to try and get tested and I think most people would be put off longer before we were."

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said: "NHS Test and Trace is working and our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests including from people who do not have symptoms and are not otherwise eligible.

“New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for those who need them and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster. If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”