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From 17 January, the testing network will reduce from 3 labs to 2 as the Rosalind Franklin laboratory will stop processing PCR tests for COVID-19

The UK’s PCR testing network for COVID-19 set to be scaled down in response to reduced demand and to ensure value for money for taxpayers.

From 17 January, the testing network will reduce from 3 labs to 2 as the Rosalind Franklin laboratory, in Leamington, will stop processing PCR tests for COVID-19.

Oliver Munn, chief operating officer for COVID-19 testing at UKHSA said: ‘The lab was built and became operational at record pace, with the first test samples being processed on 25 June 2021, just six months after building work began. Critically, it was able to contribute to testing during the winter of 2021 when the Omicron variant was at its peak.’

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‘The lab has processed over 8.5 million samples since its opening and has played a huge role in protecting the nation.’

This decision comes as vaccines and lateral flow tests have continued to help people keep safe and has reduced the current need for PCR testing.

PCR testing can be scaled up if required to in the future for emerging new variants or in the event of a future pandemic.

However, it seems that the news the lab will cease to process tests has left many people feeling concerned about their jobs.

Labour member of parliament for Warwick and Leamington Matt Western expressed his concern on Twitter yesterday.

He said: ‘I am concerned to read that the Rosalind Franklin Lab will cease to process tests. Constituents who have been in touch are understandably worried about their jobs, particularly during this cost of living crisis.’

‘I’m writing to the Health Secretary and pressing for a statement in Parliament.’

The UKHSA have said they alongside its contractors will be working with affected staff to support them through the change.