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Health chiefs demand testing station closure answers

Created on 14/09/2020 @ 14:54
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Local health bosses have told My Newtown they are looking into why Newtown's Covid-19 mobile test station close early on Sunday afternoon, resulting in people who had travelled miles being turning up to find nobody there.

Newtown Mayor, Cllr David Selby, raised the matter today after it emerged the testing station at The Hafren car park closed at 3.30pm yesterday.

It meant anyone booked in after that, some of whom had travelled from the Midlands and Merseyside, arrived with just a cardboard sign saying they must rebook.

A spokesperson for Powys Teaching Health Board told MyNewtown they were looking into it and had asked the Welsh Government to raise it with the UK Government urgently.

“The drive through testing centre in Newtown and the online booking portal are provided by UK Government as part of their national testing programme. We understand that users of the UK Government testing programme have faced a number of challenges," said a spokesperson.

"These include difficulties in booking local appointments, and arriving to find that the testing centre has closed before their appointment time.

"We understand that these issues are due to a number of factors including a raise in demand for tests, which is exceeding the capacity available in the UK Government’s network of Lighthouse laboratories to process the tests. We have asked Welsh Government to raise these issues as a matter of urgency with the UK Government.”
A Welsh Government Spokesperson said: “Issues with the UK Lighthouse lab network are ongoing. We need to see an urgent sustainable solution to these ongoing issues affecting the Lighthouse Lab system and we will be continuing to press UK Government for these improvements.

"In the meantime we are taking steps.  We have invested to boost our testing capacity and we are taking urgent action to switch over more testing facilities to Welsh laboratories to increase capacity through the mobile testing units while the UK Government resolves these issues with the Lighthouse system.”
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