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Unannounced Covid-19 Test Centre Now Operating At Onslow Park & Ride, By Appointment Only

Published on: 29 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 30 Apr, 2020

The approach to the new Covid-19 testing centre.

by Martin Giles

A new Covid-19 test centre has started operating at the Onslow Park & Ride car park without any initial public announcement or advice.

This afternoon (Wednesday, April 29), a steady stream of cars was seen heading for the centre and a short queue had formed where the entrance to the Surrey Sports Centre car park and the Park & Ride divide. Signs warn car occupants to keep their windows closed and it is understood admission is by appointment only.

Signs warn queuing car occupants to keep windows closed.

But there are no direction signs on Egerton Road so motorists on the main road could pass unaware of the new centre’s existence.

The Park & Ride ceased operation on Monday and marquees and fencing were erected. A member of staff directing the traffic said the testing centre commenced operation yesterday.

Marquees and fencing that were rapidly erected on Tuesday.

At 4.15pm a communication officer at the Royal Surrey County Hospital said he knew nothing about the new centre, a colleague later adding that enquiries should go to the media relations team at Surrey County Council.

St Nicolas Surgery with Clinical Decision Unit signs directing people to a side entrance. Signs were in place at the beginning of April.

A spokesperson for the NHS Guildford Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group said she “did not have any details to share around the testing site” but confirmed that a “Clinical Decision Unit” at Buryfields was not yet operating. She did not give any information on its role.

This evening, a SCC spokesperson said: “Yes, we can confirm it will be a Covid testing site. We’re still working through all the logistical details as we speak. I’m sure you’ll appreciate this is quite a complex operation moving at quite a fast pace. We’ll be able to issue full details shortly.”

A little later in a Surrey County Council press release, it was explained that the Surrey Local Resilience Forum has been offering testing for coronavirus to different groups in a phased approach, initially prioritising NHS workers, then the broader public services, aiming at testing all key workers who need one.

Testing has been underway in centres at Chessington, Gatwick and Twickenham for the past two weeks.

Under the new guidance announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday, testing will now be offered to anyone over 65 with symptoms, anyone with symptoms who cannot work from home, and care home staff and residents, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

A range of methods, including home-testing kits and mobile testing sites, is being set up to meet national guidance so all eligible people in need of a test, including the new groups announced yesterday, will be able to access one quickly and easily.

Clare Stone, director of quality at Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership and the strategic lead for Covid-19 Testing in Surrey, said: “I want to reassure people that we are working around the clock to ensure testing will be available for everyone eligible. We have already increased our testing capacity, and we are developing solid plans to make sure we can continue to meet demand.”

All key workers in Surrey who have symptoms can book a test by registering on surrey.trustwide.live/swabbing. A member of the testing team will be in contact to book the appointment.

Information for how new groups can book will be published soon but they can book a test on the national self-referral testing site self-referral.test-for- coronavirus.service.gov.uk/test-type.

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test 2 Responses to Unannounced Covid-19 Test Centre Now Operating At Onslow Park & Ride, By Appointment Only

  1. Nigel White Reply

    May 1, 2020 at 8:22 am

    It’s fantastic that we have a centre in Guildford and that it is near the hospital for the staff to get tested easily. Great to see something so sensible. I hope we do not get queues with people who have not booked just turning up. Well done everyone involved and good luck on sorting the logistical bits.

    Editor’s note: Yes, we have emphasised in our headline that it is by appointment only. By the way, we understand that NHS staff could get tested before the centre was open.

  2. Stephen MacAllan Reply

    July 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    It sounds as if there is again no joined-up thinking. It is a consistent feature of all this testing that nobody is informed about what is going to happen. It is almost unthinkable that no marketing has been done by SCC (perhaps they didn’t know, an NHS hospital within a few hundred yards of the testing site knew nothing about it).

    I only discovered this The Guildford Dragon NEWS because I was trying to find out if the Onslow Park & Ride bus service was operating. I still don’t know.

    Editor’s note: The Onslow Park & Ride is closed as a car park until further notice.

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