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Covid-19: New pilot allows people to get test without prior appointment


By Awil Mohamoud
Reporter
27 October 2020

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A Covid-19 testing centre in Wolverhampton is offering tests to patients without the need for a prior appointment, as part of a pilot project launched alongside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). 

The ‘walk-up’ service, led by Wolverhampton council, is designed for those with symptoms who try and are unable to book a test through the Government website or after calling 119. 

The walk-in test centre is taking up to 50 people each day without an appointment on a first come, first served basis, in a bid to ‘boost testing capacity in the city further’.

This comes as the director of the NHS’ Test and Trace programme, last month, apologised for widely reported testing shortages, stating that the issue was with laboratory processing. 

The walk-in facility is located in the city centre and will be available to all locals, including students and staff at the nearby University of Wolverhampton – an opportunity welcomed by the university’s vice-chancellor.

Boost to Covid test capacity 

Jasbir Jaspal, the council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: ‘Testing is key to getting a grip on this pandemic, and that’s why we’ve been working hard to make it as easy as possible for people to get tested for Covid-19 if they need to be. 

‘We are pleased to have reached agreement with the DHSC to enable us to take walk-ups at the Faulkland Street test centre from people who haven’t already booked an appointment. This is part of a pilot project designed to further increase access to testing for local people and to ensure we are making the best use of capacity.’

John Denley, Wolverhampton’s director of public health, said: ‘Testing is incredibly important. Primarily, of course, it will enable people to find out whether they have got Covid-19 and to then take whatever steps may be necessary as a result. But it’s also really important in helping us understand where we are as a city in the fight against coronavirus.’

He added that this will help to get a good picture of what the local infection rate is like and where in the city the hotspots are located, and helping the authorities respond to outbreaks when they occur.  

‘Only by having a really good understanding of how Covid-19 is being transmitted in Wolverhampton will we be able to determine what measures are needed to help beat the virus. Without testing data we cannot do this.’

Last month, GPs told Healthcare Leader’s sister title, Pulse, that patients had been paying ‘extortionate’ prices for private coronavirus tests after being unable to access the Government’s Test and Trace system.

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