Test and trace chaos as patients sent to Covid testing site that doesn’t exist

The UK’s £12 billion test and trace programme, which boss Dido Harding has is already admitted won’t be a 'silver bullet' for solving the coronavirus crisis, is looking like even worse value for money this morning after people with suspected Covid-19 symptoms were sent a testing site that didn’t exist.

Some people reported driving around the site in Otford Road, Sevenoaks, for up to an hour before realising that the promised mobile testing unit wasn’t there.

67-year-old Angie Waters decided to get a test after developing a cough because her husband suffers from COPD and is a high-risk case.

She was directed to the Sevenoaks drive-through test site but when she got there saw several other drivers circling around in their cars looking for the testing unit.

Describing the situation as an "absolute fiasco", she told the BBC: "I thought to be on the safe side I’d better get tested, I don’t want to put him at risk. It was just a joke. I spoke to one woman who said she had been going around for an hour."

Sevenoaks district council leader Peter Fleming wrote on Twitter that while the site had "been listed on the government website as a Covid test site… this is not the case, this site is not a test facility".

He added that government officials had asked the council to try to identify a suitable site in the area but that’s as far as the planning has gone.

Fleming told the Daily Mail that the council had been hoping for it to be open this weekend; however, it "hadn’t had their final sign-off".

Despite that, the nonexistent facility had still made it into the test site list.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We are aware of an issue with an incorrect testing location in Sevenoaks. This issue has now been resolved and people are being redirected to the correct site."

They added: "NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at the unprecedented scale of more than 270,000 tests per day nationally and we are on track to achieve capacity for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October.’"

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