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Health Secretary urged to reverse 'appointment only' decision on COVID-19 tests in Slough

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been urged to reverse the Government’s decision to turn Slough’s COVID-19 testing centre into ‘appointment only’.

Slough Borough Council announced last week that drivers can no longer turn up unannounced to the facility in Montem Car Park and must book an appointment instead.

The ban has now been extended to walk-in visitors, meaning only those with an appointment will be able to get tested for the virus.

Cllr Natasa Pantelic (Lab, Cippenham Meadows), cabinet member for health and wellbeing, wrote to the Health Secretary this week and said the rule change over virus testing was putting residents lives at risk.

Her letter said: “I’m writing on behalf of Slough's Local Outbreak Engagement Board for two reasons; to urge the government to reverse its decision to designate the testing centre for Slough as an 'appointment only' site and to raise concerns about the lack of laboratory capacity for the South East.

“This is an unsustainable situation which puts our residents’ lives at risk and hugely damages all the work that’s been done to reduce Covid-19 transmission rates in the community by the council and our partners.”

Cllr Pantelic said the importance of the testing centre in keeping positive COVID-19 cases down had been explained to the Cabinet Office during a visit to the town at the end of August.

She added the flexibility of the testing site helped overcome language, transport and technology barriers for the town’s residents, a majority of whom are in BAME groups and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Her letter also raised concerns over laboratory capacity issues in the South East and said one resident had been asked to travel to the Isle of Wight for a test.

Slough MP Tan Dhesi has also written to Mr Hancock and warned Slough risked being placed back on the Government’s COVID-19 watchlist if limitations remain on the Montem test site.

Mr Hancock told the House of Commons yesterday the country has seen a ‘sharp rise’ in people trying to get tested, including those without symptoms.

He said the Government is having to prioritise tests due to the increased demand and it could take ‘a matter of weeks’ to resolve the issues.

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  • Stranger

    14:55, 20 September 2020

    If you're tested and found positive, then, under the new rules, you will be put into quarantine (household lockdown), and if you break your quarantine, you'll be fined £10000. So, who's really in such a hurry to be tested? The only winners from this are the suppliers and contractors behind the tests and testing centres.



  • be_ transparent

    19:07, 16 September 2020

    Pretty pointless either way if no-one can get down the A4 to get there !!!!



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