Surge Testing Site Set Up at Putney Leisure Centre

Extra capacity being provided after MP blasts 'appalling' initial response

Residents queue for tests after South African variant identified in borough
Residents queue for tests after South African variant identified in borough


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A testing centre has been opened at Putney Leisure Centre to provide extra capacity for the surge testing programme implemented after the discovery of cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 in the area.

It is open daily from 9am to 3pm and supplements the existing facility in Mount Clare House, Roehampton and local pharmacies through which you can book a PCR test.

It is important people take a PCR test rather than a Lateral Flow Test if you have no symptoms as these can identify specific variants. You should also get the test if you have had the vaccine. The testing centre on Drybrugh Road will be open until 23 April.

Everyone over the age of 11 who lives, works, or studies in Putney, Roehampton and the rest of the borough of Wandsworth is being urged to take a test.

If anyone tests positive, they must self-isolate immediately and pass on details of their contacts to NHS Test and Trace when contacted. Positive tests will then be examined in a laboratory to determine whether any of them are the variant first identified in South Africa.

You will need to book an appointment at

You can book online on someone else’s behalf if they can’t do so themselves. People who are unable to book online, and don’t know someone who can book for them, can call 020 8871 6555 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm for help.

You can also can order a home delivery of a PCR test as part of the variant of concern surge testing in the borough.

Completed test kits should be returned to community collection points - Battersea Sports Centre and Wandsworth Town Hall (Room 75) - so they can be processed as part of the surge testing operation. You are asked not return these test kits by post.

The handling of the surge testing process has been criticised by a local MP after residents were asked to swab themselves in the street.

Labour health spokesperson, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan raised concerns about the “appalling” surge-testing system run by test and trace, and said she “feared for its effectiveness.”

She said the only testing site in her constituency, at Tooting Leisure Centre, only has capacity for fewer than 700 people a day, despite approximately 105,000 residents living there.

She said this needs to be scaled up “urgently.” She also criticised reports that people queuing for a test were being handed kits and asked to swab themselves while waiting in line.

“Given the PCR tests require a tonsil swab, asking people to do this standing up, without any guidance or a mirror – is shocking. It’ll create many invalid tests,” she said.

Wandsworth council said, “We are grateful to all those that have made the effort to get tested so far and are aware that due to the wonderful response to the call for everyone to get tested the system and waiting times has, at times, proved to be frustrating.”

It admitted the scale of the response had resulted in “frustrating” waits, with many people struggling to secure appointments at testing sites.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

Written with contributions from Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

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April 16, 2021

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