Confusion over location of temporary coronavirus testing site in Bedford

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Borough Hall

Confusion arose today after patients who had booked coronavirus tests in Bedford weren’t given any information about the location of the testing site.

The temporary coronavirus testing site has been set up in the car park of Borough Hall in Bedford, providing tests for essential frontline workers.

However, confirmation emails omitted any detail of the location, leading many people to assume the tests would take place at Bedford Hospital.

Bedford Hospital issued a statement via its website saying:

“URGENT PATIENT NOTICE: For patients that have booked for a COVID-19 (coronavirus) test via the Central Booking System on the Government website, please do not attend the Bedford Hospital site. Please dial 0300-3032713 where you will be advised where to attend.

“We are currently experiencing issues with additional visitors to the hospital site for these purposes and blocking access to emergency vehicles. Many thanks for your urgent assistance on this matter.”

Jess Moore travelled from Hitchin to Bedford to have the test today (Wednesday) at 1pm.

“I have been using the Covid symptom tracker for several weeks. Yesterday I received an email from them requesting I get tested because I registered symptoms over the weekend and they are trying to predict the likelihood of Covid using the mass data.

“I followed the instructions, went to the government system (selecting ‘volunteers’ from the keyworker list). It gave a range of options near to my postcode (Hitchin) and the closest was the ‘Bedford mobile testing unit’.

“I received a confirmation with several bits of info and a text message with a link to connect to once I am there – presumably a QR code to verify my identity. No address info, no contact info, and I did a bit of Googling but couldn’t find the location of this mobile site.

covid test email
The email lacked any information about the location of the testing site

“I put posts out on We are Bedford and Covid Bedford. A lot of people came back saying different things – a few saying Borough Hall. One woman’s husband had been advised to get a test from the symptom tracker too – and was recently turned away [from Bedford Hospital] because they are keeping all appointments for NHS staff.

“Testing is important, I wouldn’t want to take the slot from a key worker, but I also want to contribute to any scientific research which will solve this problem.”

Jess attended her appointment at the Borough Hall temporary testing site, marshalled by military personnel.

“I was routed through to three stations – the first to collect the sample pot, swab, hazard bag and instructions, the second where I parked and followed all the instructions to swab, and finally to drop it off once they checked it was all correct.

“Incredibly well facilitated by the military to be honest, so despite the not knowing in the first place it was a seamless process once I got there.

“The government response has been absolutely shocking and it’s the incredible key workers and generosity of the public propping up the country right now!”

In today’s Government briefing, Robert Jenrick MP said that 69,463 tests were carried out yesterday.

For the fourth day in a row the government has missed the target of 100,000 tests per day.

Referrals to mobile testing units can be made via – Self-referral  process www.gov.uk/coronavirus or employer referral via portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk.


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