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Patients sent to Covid testing station in Otford found it didn't exist

Worried members of the public who booked a Covid 19 test today near Sevenoaks were disappointed - the testing station didn't exist.

A succession of people who booked a test using the national booking portal turned up at the Otford Road park-and-ride site and hunted in vain for a testing station.

The site of the non-existent Covid testing station in Sevenoaks
The site of the non-existent Covid testing station in Sevenoaks

One woman from Stansted was among those affected. She posted on the NextDoor community website, saying: "The whole thing is a complete shambles.

"First of all I went for a drive-through Covid test earlier this week at Medway Hospital - only to be told later that the test has been lost and there was no way of tracking it as the reference I had received via text apparently wasn’t recognised by 119.

"So instead, I was sent to the testing centre in Otford today to get the test re-done, but the testing centre didn’t exist!

"I contacted 119 and was told 'Oh, they probably packed up if they had run out of tests.'

"When I found the so-called testing site, a man at the shed business on Otford Road said there had been 18 cars going into his site that morning looking for this imaginary Covid testing centre."

The Prime Minister has been told: 'It's a shambles.' Picture by Andrew Parsons
The Prime Minister has been told: 'It's a shambles.' Picture by Andrew Parsons

Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council, which coordinated the offer of the site for a mobile testing unit in response to rising local Covid 19 rates, said they were investigating the issue.

A spokesman for KCC said: “Unfortunately, while the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has put arrangements in place for test bookings to be taken on the national booking website, for an unknown reason, the mobile testing unit had not been deployed to the site today.

"We regret the inconvenience caused to residents who made appointments and have made a wasted journey and advise those people with bookings to arrange a postal test, or rebook at another site."

He said: “We are trying to find out from the DHSC what went wrong to remedy the situation to ensure a testing unit is deployed there as soon as possible.”

Another Stansted resident, Bryan Shaw, was incensed by the whole fiasco. He said: "The last thing you need when you are feeling ill is a wasted journey.

"I have emailed the Prime Minister to let him know how disgusted I am."

It came as a fun run in Sheppey had to be called off today, after it emerged a Covid testing centre had pitched up on the start line, unbeknown to the organisers.

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