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Eight Shropshire sites suggested for walk-in Covid test centres

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

A council has put forward eight suggested sites to set up walk-in Covid test centres to help ease the strain on the system.

The Ironbridge testing centre

The suggestion comes as there are still reports of people struggling to access appointments at the permanent testing site in Ironbridge.

Last week the Ironbridge centre was thrown into chaos with traffic backed up as people queued to get tested.

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There were also numerous reports of Shropshire residents being sent to Oldham, Aberdeen and Mid Wales for testing, while people from Cornwall and Merseyside found themselves directed to Shropshire instead.

The problem was raised with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock by Telford & Wrekin Council, and the town’s MP Lucy Allan.

The Ironbridge testing centre

The council has now said it has received reports that problems are persisting and that it wants walk-in centres set up to help with capacity.

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Councillor Shaun Davies, council leader, said: “We wrote to Matt Hancock last week to highlight the problems residents were having with test and trace and that despite there being a permanent site at the Ironbridge park and ride site, sadly many residents and their children are still raising these problems and are still unable to book tests locally, with people being sent on 180-mile trips to the north west and Wales instead of to their local testing centre.

“We continue to work with the NHS and have now offered eight sites that could be used as walk-in centres that would help to increase local testing capacity.

“We are waiting to hear back full confirmation on this offer.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 200,000 a day on average over the last week – with the vast majority of people getting tested within six miles of their home.

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“There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge – including by bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot.

“As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”

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