Skip to content

First testing centre to open in Peterborough for key workers

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at the East of England Arena & Events Centre in Peterborough for the NHS and other key workers.
A similar coronavirus testing centre set up at Edgbaston Cricket ground in Birmingham for key workers (Picture: PA Media)

The UK government announced Coronavirus tests for the key workers, extending it the NHS staff as well as carers, police and fire services. 

However, it has been criticised for the lack of tests and poor access to them by these essential workers. 

So far, 29 regional tests centres have been set up by the Department of Health and Social Care, additionally, they are supporting 13 NHS trusts with satellite test sites for their staff. 

In a latest development, as part of the government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for thousands more NHS and other key workers., Peterborough's East of England Arena will be used as a testing facility for Key workers. 

The facility will be piloted for its first few days of operation and will operate on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers. 

This follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK. 

 This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - which are used to identify if you currently have the virus - for critical key workers, starting with NHS front line staff. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible, and those who test positive are able to recover. 

The Government is also urgently working on setting up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners. 

Jason Lunn, venue director for the East of England Arena & Events Centre, said:  “We are delighted to host this important testing station and support our NHS, this facility will help our valued NHS staff to fight the virus and continue their valued work.” 

Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives. 

“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff and other key workers need to stay at home, meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work. 

 “This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.” 

The testing centre is being operated in partnership with G4S and Boots, and will offer assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days. 

Gordon Brockington, G4S Director said: “We are proud of our important role in setting up and managing this Covid-19 testing site, and other similar sites across the UK. It has been inspiring to see the enthusiasm of our employees to step up and support the government, our health services and the public during this crisis.”  

A Boots UK spokesperson said: “Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Peterborough is no exception. Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this COVID-19 testing station, which will start testing its first critical workers on Friday.”