Dozens of people turned up at a Welsh testing site on Thursday – despite it being closed down the day before.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said that the site in Clydach, Rhondda Cynon Taf, had been taking bookings after it had closed on Wednesday night, and branded the situation an “utter farce”.
He tweeted: “I’m shocked how appallingly run the Serco Group test system run by Government is.
“Last night (Weds) they were still booking people for the test site in Clydach, today even though it closed last night.
“Dozens have turned up for appointments at a non-existent site.”
He later said that people who had turned up for testing at Clydach were being told they could be to the mobile testing site at Abercynon.
Rhondda Cynon Taf council leader Andrew Morgan said it was “absolutely ridiculous”.
“The most annoying thing that was even when people were being turned away, the Clydach Vale testing centre was still showing up on the UK Government website,” he told BBC Radio Wales.
“Even as people were being turned away, people were booking for tests on Friday. It appears there was some sort of breakdown in communication, but it is ridiculous.
“It was just a farce.”
Mr Morgan said Welsh Government had to be contacted and they had to get the UK Government involved.
“Testing has got slightly better, but this farce doesn’t instill confidence,” he added.
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The problem was brought up in the Commons by Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth, who said he had heard of people turning up in the Rhondda, having booked a test, “but Serco has pulled the testing centre out”.
He said Serco has said Health Secretary Matt Hancock had to intervene to re-open the centre.
“Testing and tracing is key to beating the virus,” he told the Commons. “We were told more than three weeks ago that testing would be resolved, but a test still takes 30 to 31 hours to turn around, 75 hours for home test kits. When will the problems be resolved?”
Serco said that the Department of Health managed the booking system and decide on the location of testing sites.
Wales has become heavily dependent on England’s testing system – part of its test, track and trace operation which Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised would be “world-beating”. Yet this is now buckling as case levels rise across the UK and demand for testing has grown since schools returned.
But an increase in demand for coronavirus tests as more people are reporting symptoms has put the system under severe pressure in recent weeks.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale – 225,000 a day on average over the last week – with the vast majority of the public reporting no issues at all with the process.
“Testing capacity increases daily and we’re on course to have capacity for 500,000 tests every day by the end of October – bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot.
“All those who booked at the Clydach site were contacted quickly and advised to go to an alternative site in Abercynon where they will be tested.”