Fresh anger over Doncaster Covid testing centre as keyworkers wait hours to be told to do their own test

Key workers waiting up to five hours at the new Doncaster Covid 19 testing centre were stunned to then be told they have to test THEMSELVES.

By David Kessen
Sunday, 26th April 2020, 5:54 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 6:17 pm

Those arriving at the front of the queue, both yesterday (Saturday) and today (Sunday), are told by mobile phone to briefly open their window, while a test kit is thrown into their car.

Then they have to close the window again, read the instructions and work out what to do, before swabbing themselves, and then throw the swab back out at another station.

All instructions are passed on by phone, and all windows have to remain closed apart from when the tests are thrown in and out.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Cars queueing at the Doncaster Covid 19 testing centre

Angry workers have told the Free Press they only went to the testing centre because they thought they would be tested by a medic who knew what they were doing, and would have tested themselves at home if they had wanted to self test.

James Collins, a care worker from Lincoln, drove from Lincoln to Doncaster on Saturday. He was seen for his 12noon appointment at 5.30pm.

He fears the self testing flaws the process. He said: “I thought it would be done in 15 minutes. But I’m angry that it all had to be administered by myself. They might as well just give us tests at home.

Cars queueing at the Doncaster Covid 19 testing centre

“Instead, we sat in cars with the windows closed on what was probably the hottest day of the year.

“I think many of the tests will be invalid because it is something people have not done before, and it is scary to push the swab a long way up you nose and down your throat. I think that could mean people don’t do it properly, so there could be a lot of false negatives.

“I think we were all there because we thought the tests would be done for us by someone who has training and knew what they were doing.”

Another care worker, who works in mental health and asked not to be named, returned to the test centre today (Sunday), after turning back yesterday (Saturday) because of the queue, which she was told was three hours. Today (Sunday), she said she arrived at 9.55am, five minutes before the centre was supposed to be open, to find a queue already formed. She got away at 11.45am, but said she thought it was more organised today, with more staff.

But she was surprised to be told to test herself, and feels not enough information is given to those who make appointments.

She said at no point before she arrived was she told she would need a mobile phone, hand sanitiser or surgical gloves, or that she could face a long wait with all the windows closed and no access to toilet facilities. She said realistically, people needed to have a drink with them.

She said: “There were people there with children in their cars. They’d be locked up if they’d left a dog in the car in those conditions. I felt phased and uncertain – it was a horrible experience. How would dyslexic people or people with reading difficulties cope with just having instructions thrown into their car and told to test themselves? It is horrendous. You may not be able to make it pleasant, but you should at least prepare people.”

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Nancy Fielder, editor