More testing woes as people are sent to wrong site

By Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter

People hoping to get a coronavirus test were left driving around a car park in Morden on Friday after an error on the government’s booking portal told them to go to the wrong site.

They were told to go to a testing site in Morden Park Car Park, London Road, with the postcode SM4 5QX.

It later emerged they should have been told to go to Morden Car Park off Kenley Road, with the postcode SW19 3DW.

The error was soon corrected and those who had been incorrectly directed were given details of the correct site.

Sarah, from Tooting, said she booked a test at 3am on Friday morning after coughing a lot during the night.

She was “delighted” to be able to book a test in Morden later that day, only to find no-one there when she arrived at 10.30am with her QR code.

“I expected to see those pop-up tents and some people in high-vis jackets,” she said.

“There were a lot of other people driving in with masks on.”

“People began to wind down their windows asking what was going on.

“We were saying, ‘maybe a mobile van will pop-up, maybe it’s that kind of thing and they are late or have got stuck in traffic’,” said Sarah.

“There was a mother with a really young baby there and it was pouring with rain the whole time.

“There were older people there, there were cars with kids in the back. I just felt really sorry for everyone.

“I was kind of in the best position there, I wasn’t losing money by not being at work, I didn’t have kids with me.”

Sarah said she found it difficult to get through to anyone who knew what was going on.

She said: “Obviously there is nowhere you can call for test and trace. You can’t email anybody. So I went home after about an hour because an older gentleman had got through to someone and then the word spread, ‘it’s not here anymore, they don’t use this car park anymore, you’ll have to go home and try and book again’.”

Fortunately she was able to book a test in Twickenham later that day, before being sent a text moving her appointment again to a different car park in Morden.

“I thought, back to Morden car park. That’s ridiculous. That’s where I’ve just come from, but then I noticed that the postcode was different,” said Sarah.

“Part of me was thinking I almost gave up, and I can see why people give up, especially if they’ve got kids with them or they’re losing money from work.”

However, when she arrived at the correct testing site off Kenley Road, she described the testing team there as “brilliant” and “much better organised”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 225,000 a day on average over the past week – with the vast majority of the public reporting no issues at all with the process.

“Testing capacity increases daily and we’re on course to have capacity for 500,000 tests every day by the end of October – 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.

“Those who had been directed to the site were contacted and redirected to the correct site in Kenley Road.”

Pictured top: People were sent to the wrong test centre


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