Covid-19 testing site at University of Northampton to permanently close this weekend

The council and Government health department will keep the decision under review as to whether a new testing site is needed

By Carly Odell
Friday, 10th September 2021, 7:27 am
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 7:30 am

The Covid-19 testing site at the University of Northampton will close for good this weekend, the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed.

Based on the Waterside Campus, off Bedford Road, the site has offered PCR tests since November 2020.

Now the site will cease operation and close for good on Sunday (September 12), but a replacement site is under consideration depending on if West Northamptonshire Council requires the facility.

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The Covid testing site at the University of Northampton will close this weekend. (File picture).

A Department for Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “The local test site at University of Northampton will close on September 12.

“We continue to work with the local authority to assess testing requirements within Northampton.

“We are making it easier than ever to get a test with free twice weekly rapid tests available for everyone in England, meaning cases can be detected faster and more easily, and outbreaks can be stopped earlier.”

The department will continue to work with the council to assess the testing needs in the town, and county, and find a suitable location to relocate the site, if needed.

Employees from the university testing site contacted Chronicle & Echo to say they had been verbally told about the closure, but had not received a seven-day written notice, as per their contracts, nor had they been offered other roles.

Mitie - the company responsible for the employment at the site - told this newspaper that staff have now received their written notice.

A Mitie spokeswoman added: “Our priority is to support the nation’s efforts to fight Covid-19 and help keep the country running.

“Testing is a critical part of the UK’s strategy to combat Covid and we’re proud to support the UK Government with this vital task.

“Should a test centre close or its staffing requirements change, we work closely with our colleagues to support them through this process, including helping to find new roles within our business wherever possible.”

The company, which has 75,000 employees across the country, says it will offer face-to-face support to colleagues to review vacancies that might be of interest to them.

Earlier this week, this newspaper also reported how employees at the site had not been paid for three weeks after Mitie took over the contract from G4S.

There are a number of other PCR testing sites in Northamptonshire including in Daventry, Wellingborough and Kettering.

Lateral Flow Tests can also be ordered for free online here or can be picked up from certain pharmacists.