Drive-through Coronavirus testing introduced at hospital

Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital has launched a drive through service for testing people who fear they may have contracted COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus).

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 1st March 2020, 1:34 pm
Updated Sunday, 1st March 2020, 3:05 pm

People with pre-booked appointments are met by medical staff in protective clothing to be tested while sitting in their cars, and results will be given within 24 hours.

NHS Lothian said: “Patients who are given an appointment will be asked to drive directly to the testing area, without speaking to anyone else on the route.

“They will be met by specially trained healthcare professionals in protective clothing, who will ask them to wind down the window of their car.

“A painless throat swab will be taken and the patient will be given information on self-isolation and asked to return and remain at home. Results will be returned as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.”

Those attending will have been referred by their GP or NHS 24 and will make their own way to the Western.

The initiative was introduced as NHS Lothian steps up preparations for the possible spread of the virus, and is designed to complement the existing community testing service where trained teams test patients in their own home.

So far 500 people in Scotland have tested negative.

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director, NHS Lothian, said: “This service is for patients who have been assessed by the specialist team so it is an appointment-only service.

“It is not a drop-in clinic and it is important to stress that patients cannot be seen without an appointment.

“The drive-through facility and the community testing teams allow us to test patients without them coming into healthcare facilities. Patients will be referred on by their GP or NHS 24 if they are at risk of the virus and meet the clinical criteria.

“They will then be referred on to our teams, who will decide whether they need to be tested in their own homes or if they are well enough and can use their own transport to drive to the Western General Hospital.”