Frontline NHS staff and surgery patients are among hundreds of Brits being turned away each day from a UK PCR test centre.
An unnamed source working at the Lincolnshire Showground Centre drive-through testing site claims people turning up without a booking are being refused a swab.
“Drive-ins” were previously allowed but staff put an end to the service on December 20, Lincolnshire Live reports.
The reason for people being turned away remains unclear, with the source claiming there are “kits available” and that staff are left “twiddling their thumbs” without people to test.
It comes as officials reported today there are zero PCR test appointments available in Lincolnshire for the second day running.
The source, who asked not to be named, claimed there were “kits available” and that turning people away leads to staff “twiddling [their] thumbs until a car turns up with a booking as there’s nothing else to do.”
They said: “We’re being told to turn away anyone without a booking even if it’s quiet and even though the government website keeps going down.
“We’re turning away people that are frontline NHS doctors and nurses, police and firefighters.
“We’re also turning away people with surgery appointments that need a negative PCR test.
“No exceptions is what we’re told, regardless of reason. Estimated numbers differ each day, though it was around 200 a few days ago easily.
“[People are] upset most of the time, with them telling us they need a test and explaining why. We then have to still turn them away despite having kits available. They have no clue that they’re unable to drive through without a booking.”
The source at the centre said that they believe the system to be “disgusting” given the lack of “leeway despite the government telling
us all to get tested.”
Lincolnshire Live contacted the county’s public health team about the claims and was referred to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which manages testing.
A UKHSA spokesperson didn’t respond specifically to the allegations about people being turned away, but issued a statement claiming that it continues to “rapidly expand capacity” in relation to PCR tests.
The statement reads: “The UK’s testing programme is the biggest in Europe with almost 400 million tests carried out since the start of the pandemic.
“We are delivering record numbers of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with almost 8 million test kits being made available to pharmacies between today and New Year’s Eve.
“We have made 100,000 more PCR booking slots available per day since mid-December and we are continuing to rapidly expand capacity – with over half a million tests carried out on 23 December alone and delivery capacity doubled to 900,000 PCR and LFD test kits a day.
“If you have not been able to get the test you need from gov.uk, please keep checking every few hours as more PCR and LFD tests become available every day.”