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Student ‘in tears’ after being turned away from Covid-19 test after hour-long journey to England

10 Sep 2020 3 minute read
A Covid-19 testing centre. Photo Nation.Cymru

A Welsh student has told of how she burst into tears after travelling an hour and a half to England for a coronavirus test and being turned away.

Kirstie Penman, 21, from Wrexham, said she travelled to Telford for a test, only to be turned away when it turned out she hadn’t received a QR code.

She said that she had now given up getting a test as it was so difficult to get through on the phone line.

“We were like, ‘is this a complete joke, we’ve just driven from an hour-and-a-half away?’, and there was no reassurance or nothing,” she told Birmingham Live.

“He just said sorry, there’s a queue behind you, you’ll have to come back when you get the code sent to you.

“At that point I just started crying, upset because it’s a long journey for a test. Then we just had to drive home, there was no other option, really.”

After trying a number of routes, Ms Penman said she had given up, adding: “There’s no way you can get through, it just cuts off, the phone line.”

She initially rang her doctor seeking antibiotics for a bad chest but was informed she would instead need to get a test for coronavirus.

“They were insisting for me to go and get a test, just to be sure, (to) which I agreed… I’m a single mum, I look after my son on my own so I just wanted to be sure.”

She added that the surgery now advised that without a test she would have to manage her symptoms at home and keep checking her breathing.



The UK Government has said the booking website is prioritising higher-risk areas, which means there is a shortage of booking slots at local centres in lower-risk areas.

Yesterday Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded to know why 75,000 coronavirus tests “are not being used every day”, as people are sent hundreds of miles to get one.

In Commons clashes, he accused Boris Johnson of “ignoring the problem” and of failing to give “honest answers” about the deep problems the test-and-trace system is facing.

“It’s got a lot worse in the last week or two – everybody in this House knows it, because they’ve all had constituents, telling them,” he warned the prime minister.

“The latest government figures were updated last night. They show that, on average, 75,000 tests are not being used every day.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock warned the testing problems could take “weeks” to fix yesterday.

“We’ve had a problem with a couple of contracts. It’s a matter of a couple of weeks until we can get all of that sorted,” he told a committee of MPs.

He added: “We’ve already put in [place] certain solutions to ensure people don’t have to travel more than 75 miles.

“I appreciate 75 miles is far longer than you’d want to go, but the majority of tests are much closer.”

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