Health and care organisations in Gloucestershire are continuing to test their staff for Covid-19 to ensure more can get back to work, helping local people to stay safe, healthy and well.
A drive through, appointment only testing centre is operating in Brockworth, Gloucester, where up to 160 staff or members of their household can be swabbed each day.
NHS and care staff – including NHS hospital, community and mental health staff; GPs and practice staff; pharmacists, ambulance workers and care home and domiciliary care staff are all eligible for testing through the service if they are exhibiting symptoms.
Test results are processed within the county or neighbouring laboratory and are available within 48 to 72 hours, meaning the member of staff can quickly return to work if it’s confirmed they, or a member of their household, does not have Covid-19.
This service is in addition to the regional testing being provided to key workers, which is accessed via the national Gov.uk process.
Amjad Uppal, Medical Director of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, which is providing the service on behalf of local healthcare providers, said: “This service has been up and running for a while now and it’s an important part of our joint response to Covid-19 in our county. Testing is vital if we are to keep services running, helping our staff to return to work quickly and in the safe knowledge that they are not putting their patients, those they care for or their colleagues at risk.”
Deborah Lee, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Our staff have collectively risen to the challenge of supporting communities through the past months. Having a local arrangement in place to ensure they can be tested quickly and easily has been an integral part of our response and we’re encouraging our colleagues to take advantage of this service if they, or a member of their household, are symptomatic.”
Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is another great example of the dynamic and joined up response to Covid-19 across health and social care in Gloucestershire. Whether it is the dedication of individual staff, support for the vital changes we have made together across services, the multi-agency effort on PPE or this expansion to testing arrangements, everyone is pulling out all the stops to keep people as safe as possible and ensure the best possible care is made available.”
The Gloucestershire service is increasing capacity to:
• Reduce journey times for staff who can use their nearest site
• Enable better data collection to identify hotspots and outbreaks
• Simplify the process to speed it up and reduce administration
• Ensure results are received as quickly as possible
Tests are available by appointment only, with staff being referred through their own in-house referral routes.
If capacity is reached, other local testing sites may be set up or regional sites may be used as required.
If you are a keyworker who requires testing and you do not work for NHS or care services in Gloucestershire, please visit www.gov.uk for information on how you can be tested.