NHS workers turned away from Ikea COVID-19 test centre as they didn't have appointment

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
NHS staff are tested for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing centre set up in the car park of an Ikea store in Wembley, London. (PA)

NHS workers who had turned up to a COVID-19 testing centre at Ikea were turned away because they did not have appointments.

Long queues of cars built up at the test site at the Wembley, north London, branch of the Swedish furniture giant as medical staff tried to get tested.

But many were turned away without having a test as they were told they needed to show emails that had arranged a time and date.

NHS staff are tested for the COVID-19 virus at Ikea in Wembley, north London. (PA)

Health care assistant Joanna Pasieka, 39, told The Sun: “I am working on a COVID ward.

“I rang 111 and they told me to come here, but they won’t test me here without an email. I just don’t know who I have to contact to get an appointment.”

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Others told the paper that they “assumed you could just pop in”.

A testing facility set up at Chessington World of Adventures was said to be virtually empty.

Stewards organise traffic at a COVID-19 test centre for NHS workers at Ikea. (PA)

So far, more than 2,000 medics have been tested for coronavirus out of more than 550,000 frontline NHS workers in England.

Professor Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England (PHE), said five drive-through NHS staff testing hubs are up and running, with "another four to come on stream this week”.

Testing will hit 15,000 per day "imminently", he said, adding: "It will be 25,000 by the middle of April.”

He said one hospital had managed to get 100 workers back to work after testing staff.

Work being led by the Office for Life Sciences "to look at a much broader set of universities, industry and other laboratories" will "give us another 100,000 or more tests per day", Prof Cosford continued.

Boris Johnson said the government needed to "massively ramp up" testing so NHS staff who are self-isolating unnecessarily could return to work.

He said work was ongoing on an antibody test to tell people whether they have had the virus and can safely return to their daily lives.

Yahoo News UK has contacted Ikea and the Department of Health for comment.

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