December 30, 2021 2.33 pm This story is over 23 months old

“Showground worker” claims COVID testers turning people away despite “twiddling thumbs”

“Stay home and wait for an appointment if you have symptoms”

Someone claiming to work at the Lincolnshire Showground PCR testing site has said they are “being told to turn away anyone without a booking” including frontline NHS staff.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous when emailing The Lincolnite said this was taking place “even if it’s quiet and even though the government website keeps going down.”

It comes as people struggle to get booked in to PCR testing for the second day in a row, despite some slots opening up.

The email said: “We used to be able to give drive ins a registration card but not allowed now.

“Even if you’re an emergency services personnel we can’t give it you without a booking.

“We’re turning away people that are frontline NHS, doctors and nurses, police and firefighters. We’re also turning away people with surgery appointments that need a negative PCR test.

“The worst part is we sit twiddling our thumbs until a car turns up with a booking as there’s nothing else to do.

“Terrible system and no leeway despite the gov telling us all to get tested. Just disgusting.”

Yesterday, The Lincolnite confirmed that the COVID-19 testing centre at Lincoln’s Joseph Banks Laboratories is available for walk-in PCR tests.

| Photo: Stuart Wilde for CoLC

The UK Health Security Agency, which took over running the Lincolnshire Showground site from NHS Test and Trace, has been asked for comment.

In response to the testing shortages and difficulties, a spokesperson said: “The UK’s testing programme is the biggest in Europe with almost 400 million tests carried out since the start of the pandemic.

“We are delivering record numbers of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with almost 8 million test kits being made available to pharmacies between today and New Year’s Eve.

“We have made 100,000 more PCR booking slots available per day since mid-December and we are continuing to rapidly expand capacity – with over half a million tests carried out on 23 December alone and delivery capacity doubled to 900,000 PCR and LFD test kits a day.

“If you have not been able to get the test you need from, please keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available every day.”

They thanked people for wanting to get tested and said they were doing the right thing.

However, they added that during periods of exceptional demand there may be temporary pauses in ordering or receiving tests, to “ensure we manage distribution across the system and support changing requirements for LFD and PCR tests”.

“If you are symptomatic, you should stay at home while you are waiting for a home test kit or a test site appointment,” said the guidance.

“If you need to leave your home to get to a test site, wear a face covering, stay at least 2 metres apart from other people who you do not live with, and return home immediately afterwards.”