MP backs Bishop’s call for covid testing closer to Croydon

Jonathan Clark, the Bishop of Croydon, has added his voice to calls for more, and more easily accessible, coronavirus testing centres for people living and working in Croydon.

Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark: Chessington is too far away as a testing centre

The Bishop has called for a testing centre to be set up closer to south London hospitals and care homes, suggesting the Ikea car park off the Purley Way.

There are currently 28 drive-through testing centres around the country, where NHS staff and care home workers can report for a nasal swab to detect whether they have contracted the covid-19 virus.

The government has adopted sites around the country at railway stations, football stadiums and airports for these testing centres.

But the testing centre closest to Croydon is at Chessington, nearly 10 miles away and at least a 30-minute drive from Croydon.

As well as the major hospital at Mayday, Croydon has 140 care homes, where reports suggest that staff have often been under-equipped with PPE – personal protective equipment – to avoid both catching or transmitting the virus.

The Bishop directed his call at the borough’s three MPs – Steve Reed, Sarah Jones and Chris Philp.

“Croydon has some of the highest numbers of covid-19 cases in the country,” the Bishop tweeted.

The Bishop’s call for the borough’s three MPs to act

“Care home staff are among those least likely to afford a car, and they’re being told to go to Chessington.

“How about something in Croydon, public transport accessible? Ikea?”

Bishop Clark’s call quickly got backing from Croydon Central’s Sarah Jones. “This is a problem, you are right,” she wrote, “and explains why testing numbers are lower than capacity.

“We have more care homes in Croydon than anywhere else. Our care homes also still don’t have enough PPE.”

The government had set a target of conducting 100,000 covid-19 tests per day by the end of April. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, speaking before he was hospitalised after contracting the deadly virus, had boasted that his government would deliver 250,000 tests per day.

A Guardian graphic showing the (slow) progress towards the government’s 100,000 tests per day target

By Tuesday of this week, they were conducting fewer than 23,000 per day. The tests tend to take five days to turnround with results.

Today, the government announced that they would introduce 50 mobile testing centres by the end of April. At a lunchtime lobby briefing in Downing Street, a spokesman said the plan was for every testing centre to have a mobile laboratory attached to it, while Amazon is being used to deliver testing kits to some people who needed them at home.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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