Anger as key worker turned away from coronavirus test centre DESPITE having an appointment

A key worker was left baffled and upset after being turned away from the new coronavirus testing centre without explanation despite having an official appointment booked. The 53-year-old HGV driver from Blackburn, who did not wish to be named, said he'd been experiencing a temperature and shortness of breath so booked an appointment at the centre, which is located at Preston's College, when the online portal went live. The man was provided with an appointment time of 4.30pm for Saturday April 25.

He told the Lancashire Telegraph: "I arrived in Preston and made my way to the testing centre. "I got there at exactly 3.32pm, an hour earlier than my scheduled appointment, but when I reached the centre, the entrance was coned off, there were no cars around and no signs to direct me where to go." Dashcam footage from the man's car shows him driving through the cones and making his way towards security staff.

The man is then challenged as to why he entered the site and after a slight disagreement, the member of security informed the gentleman the centre was closed. He added: "I couldn't understand it. I was an hour early for my appointment and was told the testing centre was closed for the day.

"Nobody informed me about this; I had no email or text to say the centre had shut or my appointment had been cancelled. "Another security guard told me to return in the morning, at 10am or 11am. "There were other cars trying to get in too, so I can't have been the only one to have been told to leave without getting tested."

The HGV driver, whose wife was with him in the car, said he didn't return on the Sunday morning as he was worried about being turned away due to his appointment being for the previous day. He said: "I didn't want to make another wasted journey. I just wanted to get tested and I'm angry and upset that I was given no explanation whatsoever about this, and still haven't been given an explanation."

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "Our aim as we tackle this virus is to make it easy, fast and simple for any essential worker who needs a test to get a test. "In addition to setting up a nationwide network of drive in testing sites, we have introduced home testing kit delivery, deployed mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces, and built three new 'mega labs' to analyse test samples. "This is in addition to more than doubling the capacity of the NHS and Public Health England laboratories, all in a matter of weeks.

"In the UK, 569,768 people have now been tested, and the vast majority report no issues with the process. "We are determined to ensure that everyone who needs a test can get one." There are 42 regional test centres open and the DHSC expect to have 50 by the end of the month.

The relative speed in which these centres have been facilitated means some of the sites are still in the pilot phase, but the DHSC say they remain committed to making sure every key health and care worker can be tested if needed so they can get back to saving lives.

The testing centre at Preston's College is being facilitated by the Lancashire Resilience Forum, however when contacted for a statement they said it would not be for them to comment on.

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