London Covid: Furious patients turned away from testing site after NHS staff don’t show up

Furious patients waiting for Covid checks were turned away from a testing site on Thursday morning after NHS staff failed to show up.

A huge queue of cars snaked around the Tower Hamlets test site on December 16 as patients waited to get tested for coronavirus.

But they were sent home and told by security that there was no one there to test them.

One patient waiting for a test fumed that they had not been able to get tested after making a long trip to the site.

They said: “I’m absolutely furious. I came all the way from South London for this and have been turned away because there’s no NHS staff to test people.

“It’s an utter shambles.”

Drivers desperate to find out if they had caught the variant were left frustrated at Billingsgate Market and had to head home without finding out.

Multiple health agencies were contacted for comment, but each directed the Local Democracy Reporting Service to speak to another agency.

NHS London, the Department for Health and Social Care, the UK Health Security Agency and Tower Hamlets Council were all contacted for comment.

Massive queues have grown across London for Covid tests and booster jabs in the last week as the Omicron variant rips through the city.

The Covid testing site at Billingsgate Market this morning

The Omicron variant is now thought to make up the majority of Covid cases in London.

London currently has almost 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, with tens of thousands of new cases being reported each day.

Cases are rising faster in London than anywhere else in the UK as the Omicron variant spreads, with 625 cases per 100,000 people in the city.

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