NHS Ayrshire & Arran has expanded its coronavirus (COVID-19) testing arrangements to include drive through testing.
This means patients with mild symptoms can drive themselves to a contained area of the hospital for testing, enabling them to avoid public transport or walking, and will enable more people to be tested.
Appointment only community tests will be carried out from a fixed site.
This outdoor ‘drive thru’ approach will take place within a large tented facility on the grounds of University Hospital Crosshouse.
Dr Crawford McGuffie, Medical Director, explains: “We had been providing hospital-based testing from University Hospital Crosshouse. However, for most people attending an inpatient ward is not required and this also limits how many tests we can offer each day.
“As we expect the number of tests will increase significantly, by introducing a community testing model, as well as inpatient testing, we will be able to increase our capacity to meet the needs of the population.”
The test is a simple throat and nose swab, with the addition of two sputum samples if the individual has a productive cough. And in line with established infection control measures, the team performing the tests will wear protective clothing.
Dr McGuffie added: “We know that it can be daunting to see the testing team wearing personal protective equipment. However, we want to reassure people that there is no need to be alarmed. This is part of our usual infection control procedures.”
The testing facility is now up-and-running. However, members of the public should note that this is not a drop-in facility. You must have a pre-arranged appointment. Anyone who turns up without an appointment will be turned away.
If you are concerned you may have been exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19), telephone your GP surgery during normal working hours or call NHS 24 on 111 if out of hours.
For the latest health and travel advice, see nhsinform.scot/coronavirus. A free helpline has also been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.