Northampton hospital's drive-thru Covid-19 tests gets 157 NHS staff back to work in first 48 hours

'We can give our staff the reassurance they need,' says chief executive

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 10:57 am

More than 150 key NHS workers were back at work within the first 48 hours of Northampton General Hospital launching a drive-thru Covid-19 testing progamme for staff.

Those working in critical care, intensive care units, emergency departments and cohorted wards were prioritised in the scheme which started on Monday.

And NHS Providers — the membership organisation for the NHS hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services — revealed that of the first 184 results sent back by the labs, 157 were negative for coronavirus.

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Dr Sonia Swart, Northampton General Hospital's chief executive

All those cleared of having the bug are now back at work while the other 27 are continuing to self-isolate.

Dr Sonia Swart, chief executive of Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, said: "We are proud to be able to pilot this staff testing in Northampton.

"We are very grateful for the dedication and adaptability of our staff to enable us to set this testing up in just four days.

"Offering this testing means that we can give our staff the reassurance they need to be able to come back to work and know they are healthy. There is still a lot of learning to do and we are looking forward to seeing how this has supported our staff".

Northampton General Hospital started testing staff at this drive-thru facility on Mlonday

Latest figures revealed 220 have tested positive for the Covid-19 bug in Northamptonshire with 20 deaths confirmed by the county's two NHS Trusts.

The UK epidemic is not predicted to peak for another two or three weeks and NHS planners have freed up nearly 400 hospital beds in Northampton and Kettering ahead of an expected surge in Covid-19 patients.

The hospital had targeted receiving results from testing labs within 24 hours. But a review of the scheme revealed that, in practice, the logistics of completing testing process means that it takes more like 48 hours.

By Wednesday (April 1) more than 1,000 staff had been tested.

The service was also been offered to family members whose symptoms were causing hospital staff to self-isolate but has now been expanded to staff from healthcare community partners including Kettering General Hospital, Northamptonshire Healthcare, East Midlands Ambulance Service, and primary care staff in the county.

Staff from across the trust pulled together to set up a drive-thru process for self-isolating staff from Northampton General Hospital and community partners.

They also created an internal service for staff at work which enabled them to be tested before leaving the site and starting self-isolation.

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