Parents with sick children sent to empty car park for coronavirus tests

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2 mins read
The car park in Edgbaston, Birmingham, was abandoned. (Reach)
The car park in Edgbaston, Birmingham, was abandoned. (Reach)

Parents desperate for coronavirus tests for their children have hit out at authorities after they were sent to an empty car park.

They were among “hundreds” who showed up to an abandoned mobile site in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Tuesday.

John Waterman, from Sutton Coldfield, tried for hours to secure a test for his 11-year-old son after he came down with a cough.

More than two hours after his scheduled appointment, he was sent a message telling him the former Tower Ballroom car park site was now “unavailable”.

Watch: What are the current UK government guidelines on face coverings within schools?

Waterman, 38, said: "There must have been at least a hundred people there when we arrived.

“Cars driving up and down the road trying to find this test site they had been sent to.”

On Monday, MPs branded England’s Test and Trace system a “world beating shambles” after it emerged that some of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots have no tests available.

Waterman added: "It's a total shambles. Think of how bad this is actually going to be when cold and flu season starts in earnest.

"It needs to be sorted out quickly."

Another angry parent told how she turned up at the same Edgbaston site only to find a “locked and gated” car park.

Samantha Moore said: "Finally managed to get a COVID test booked for my 14-year-old at the former Tower Ballroom car park in Edgbaston.

"No test centre on site and a lot of confused and frustrated people milling about looking for it.

"There are no directions upon arrival. Some people had walked up and down Osler Street and couldn't find any sort of test centre.

"The derelict car park opposite the cafe was gated and locked, no mobile unit inside. There was a lot of people in that street looking for the test centre and it was nowhere to be seen."

Parents were angry when they turned up at the testing site. (Reach)
Parents were angry when they turned up at the testing site. (Reach)

The mobile testing site is believed to have been at the car park on Monday but it vanished overnight.

NHS signs advising people to “only enter with an appointment” had been left stuck to a fence at the former Tower Ballroom car park on Osler Street.

Birmingham City Council said: "Sorry to hear this. We are not involved in the running of mobile testing sites but we'll make sure to alert relevant partners to the issue."

It is unclear exactly what led people to still be directed to the Edgbaston test centre, but Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill, who represents Birmingham Edgbaston, said she would be “escalating” the matter.

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