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GPs to refer patients to drive-through coronavirus testing

GPs can refer patients to participate in drive-through coronavirus testing, as part of new schemes established in Scotland and Wales. 

The facilities in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and Wrexham, north Wales are is hoped to help manage possible cases of Covid-19, of which there are now 163 confirmed UK cases – and minimise the risk of further infection. 

In Lanarkshire, where there is currently no-one with a Covid-19 diagnosis, GPs can issue appointments for patients, who will then drive through in their cars to be tested. NHS 24, Scotland’s telehealth organisation, can also do this.

Gabe Docherty, NHS Lanarkshire’s director of public health, said: ‘The introduction of community testing is all about following the advice in relation to staying at home, minimising contact with others and limiting the potential spread of the virus.

‘By doing this, we can better manage any possible cases – of course, not everyone tested will have the virus – while minimising the risk of infection, so it benefits everyone all round.

‘I appreciate it may be daunting for neighbours and family members to see our staff in their neighbourhood in protective clothing, but there really is no need to be concerned. This is simply a precautionary measure that is in line with standard infection control procedures.’

Elsewhere in Lanarkshire, nurses and clinical support workers are home-testing those who have been identified as being at risk of the globally-spreading virus. 

They will visit their homes to collect samples, thus making it easier for the individuals to follow health advice. This instructs against walking into GP practices, hospitals or other healthcare settings and risking infecting others.

At present, Scotland has reported 11 cases of Covid-19. Its chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood today (6 March) confirmed that the country remains in the containment phase initiated by the Government. 

A drive-through coronavirus testing centre has also been launched in Rossett, Wrexham, according to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

 Across the border, NHS England has addressed GP practices over the crisis.