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Extra coronavirus testing site to open close to Sandy Lane Health Centre on Wednesday, November 18 after 'appalling' delay

Extra coronavirus testing site to open close to Sandy Lane Health Centre on Wednesday, November 18 after 'appalling' delay

by Danielle Thompson (November 2020)

AN EXTRA coronavirus testing site is being set up close to Sandy Lane Health Centre in Skelmersdale.

It located on the overflow car park after technical issues the contractor found there last week were resolved. It will be open for a minimum of three months. 

People with symptoms who live in West Lancashire can be tested there if they make an appointment in advance. They can easily access the facility on foot as it is not a drive through site.

The new site is fully self-contained and strict controls are in place to keep residents safe.

Booking for tests opens at 10am on Wednesday 18 November with the first appointments being available from 2pm-5pm that day. After that testing will available 8am to 5pm on Thursday 19 November, and then from Friday 20 November it will be open 8am–8pm seven days a week. To book a test please visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.  

The main health centre car park is still open, along with the car park on the other side of the Sandy Lane precinct, which can be accessed via Sandy Lane and Witham Road. All of the local businesses in the precinct that can remain open under current government coronavirus restrictions are doing so.

Patients at the Sandy Lane Health Centre may want to give themselves more time to find a parking space when they have an appointment.

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: "It is vital that anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus gets tested so they can protect their loved ones and our communities."

The opening of the site comes after West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper spoke out to say how ‘appalling’ it was that it had been delayed due to a mistake made by government contractor Deloitte. 

Although the site was supposed to begin administering tests on November 11, a failure by Deloitte to bring the correct equipment prevented this testing site from opening until November 18.

Ms Cooper said: “This is absolutely appalling! Deloitte, NHS Test and Trace and the government should be ashamed to have let my constituents down yet again. 

“I have repeatedly voiced mine and the residents of West Lancashire’s concerns about the lack of local testing facilities in the area. The apathy with which the government and its contractors have treated my constituents is unforgivable. 

“The fact that it has taken this long to get a permanent testing centre in Skelmersdale is simply disgraceful. Skelmersdale residents are critically ill and dying and yet Deloitte and NHS Test and Trace don’t seem to take this seriously enough to do their job properly. 

“Many Skelmersdale residents are unable to travel without the use of public transport and so would find it very difficult to visit testing sites in the surrounding area. This site is essential to their health and that of the people they may come in contact with.”

Deloitte have been approached by the Champion for a comment.

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