WHITEHALL has taken control of the purchasing of coronavirus tests for all devolved nations after it emerged NHS Wales had lost out to NHS England in a bidding war for Covid-19 testing kits.

Sources said the company that both Wales and England were attempting to secure testing kits with decided to prioritise the larger order, leading the Welsh order to be cancelled sparking fury from the Cardiff administration.

The conflict resulted in a meeting between all four nations’ health ministers on Friday, at which it was agreed the UK Government would co-ordinate the procurement of testing kits centrally.

Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price has expressed anger over the move, which he says he doesn’t feel will best serve Wales’ needs.

The party leader said: “How can we have any confidence in a system whereby we don’t have any independent means of securing our needs in Wales, if we’re just told to trust the UK Government to provide us what we need without any ability to actually intervene ourselves?

“That certainly doesn’t give me the confidence that Wales’ needs will be best served.”

BBC Wales's Owen Williams branded the move "utterly appalling".

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil tweeted expressing doubt that the devolved nations would agree to such a move, before adding: "So is the upshot of this is that if Ireland wasn't independent Whitehall would be also dampening down their test rates??"

The news comes as the UK Government faces criticism over its failure to meet its own coronavirus testing targets.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove acknowledged the UK needs to go “further, faster” on testing.

At the weekend ministers boasted that they had achieved 10,000 tests a day, however it later emerged only about 8000 tests are being carried out daily.

Now its next target of 25,000 is likely not to be met until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Germany has met its weekly target of 500,000 tests and is now aiming to achieve 200,000 a day.  

Former Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was “very worrying” that the Government had not adopted a mass-testing policy.

He said: “It is internationally proven as the most effective way of breaking the chain of transmission.”