A new drive-through coronavirus swabbing facility for NHS staff has opened in central London at the British Library.
The new location, operated by University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust and its diagnostic partner Health Services Laboratories (HSL), will help streamline the hospital’s testing process, allowing more people to be tested faster.
The drive through service builds on the collaboration between UCLH, The Francis Crick Institute and Health Services Laboratories (HSL) to develop a testing service for NHS staff. Positioning the drop-in service next door to the Crick means the swabbing and testing process can be as streamlined as possible, with testing taking place in the Crick’s newly repurposed laboratories, so that NHS staff get the results quickly and know whether it’s safe for them to return to work.
The temporary facility is located at the rear of the Library’s building at St Pancras, which is currently closed to the public, and service is by appointment only. Invited NHS staff can drive onto and off the site.
Charles Swanton, Group Leader at the Crick and UCL, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Clinician and oncologist at UCLH, set up the Crick’s testing facility with Steve Gamblin, the Crick’s Director of Scientific Platforms, after witnessing first-hand the urgent need for additional tests. He says: “Increased testing is vital to ease the pressures facing healthcare staff tackling COVID-19 on the front line.
“It has been hugely rewarding working with such amazing UCL and UCLH staff and Crick scientists to set up this service. It will help us carry out more tests even faster, as we get swabs into the Crick labs without delay, and results back to staff performing lifesaving duties.”
Sam Barrell, Chief Operating Officer of the Crick, says, “This has been a big team effort by people across the Crick, working with our neighbours at the British Library and with UCLH. We’re pleased to be working together to support the testing of essential healthcare staff.
"This service will help streamline our testing, with Crick scientists ready and waiting to analyse samples so that people can have the results within 24 hours.”