With car swabbing test hub in Fulham and isolation pods in all local hospitals
Swab Hub at Parsons Green Health Centre
A 'drive through' test centre in Parsons Green and isolation 'pods' in local hospitals are among services being rolled out by the NHS in West London as it prepares to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
Parsons Green Health Centre, on the east side of Parsons Green in Fulham is now providing a car swabbing test hub.
This is a referral only service supplied by the nursing and therapy workforce of Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, accessed and medically supported by the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust medical team.
People who are concerned they may have the virus are asked not to visit a GP or hospital, but instead to self-isolate and ring 111.
The NHS 111 call centre will pass relevant local callers to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital staff, who will assess their needs by phone.
If staff decide a test is required, they will be referred to Parsons Green Health Centre, where they will arrive in their own car, and will not enter the building.
Instead they will have their throads and noses swabbed outside by specially trained nurses, under a purpose built awning.
Samples will be collected by the community testing service using a standardised process, and the patients will be given their results over the phone within 72 hours.
The Parsons Green site has no emergency services and the following cases will not be seen by the service and will be re-directed to emergency departments.
Cases who are clinically unwell
Cases aged under 16 years
Cases known to be pregnant
Residents who cannot drive are being visited in their own home to have their tests.
The new service, accessed through a referral from NHS 111, means people worried about the virus can safely and quickly get checked close to home.
The model is one of the ways in which community testing and home testing are being rolled out nationwide, with the NHS’ strategic incident director for coronavirus, asking health services in every part of England to set up home and community testing.
People are asked to self-isolate while checks are completed, to prevent any potential onward transmission of the virus.
Dr Joanne Medhurst, medical director for Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: " Anyone who is worried about coronavirus should call NHS 111 for up to date advice.
" We’ve set up the 'drive through' service to make sure people in our community can get safe, convenient and quick checks for coronavirus, as part of NHS efforts to keep everyone safe.
" It’s crucial that, as a community service, we help residents in our area to get accurate, timely advice while managing extra pressure on the NHS, and so far this week we’ve had good feedback from people that the swabbing service offers reassurance at what can be a difficult time"
NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: "The NHS is working hard to prepare for possible service impacts and and services across the country are putting in place pragmatic, inventive and safe measures to help people get tested for coronavirus.
" It’s important that anyone who is worried about symptoms of the virus, or who has travelled to affected areas, uses NHS 111 to get advice, and as we continue to manage the outbreak – and as more people may need to self-isolate – our NHS staff will help people to deal with the virus calmly and professionally."
Hospitals across London, including Chelsea and Westminster on Fulham Road, Charing Cross on Fulham Palace Road in Hammersmith and Hammersmith Hospital in Du Cane Road in Shepherd's Bush, have also opened isolation 'pods' where people with symptoms of the virus can be apart kept from other patients while they are tested and treated.
An NHS spokesperson said: "Following national guidance all hospitals are putting in place NHS 111 pods at their emergency departments, so that anyone attending hospital with symptoms of the virus can be kept isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E."
Darren Jones, divisional director of nursing and therapies for Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: " We’re supporting people with the coronavirus outbreak at the moment, the most important thing to remember is to call NHS 111 if you need any help.
" Everybody can take simple steps to stay well, including good basic hygiene especially washing your hands regularly, using hot water and soap or alcohol hand rub.
" With coronavirus spreading through droplets between people in close contact with each other, If you sneeze or cough or have a winter cold, blow your nose then dispose the tissue and wash your hands so germs don’t spread. Remember: catch it, bin it, kill it.
" And during this year – the Year of the Nurse and Midwife – I’d like to thank the 1,500 nurses in our community trust, which depends on the skill and compassion of nurses to help our patients and their families and our whole community to stay safe."
March 3, 2020