NHS launches ‘drive-through’ Coronavirus testing

The rollout has started in London and Edinburgh. 

Ian Snug
3 March 2020

Patients suspected of having the virus are invited to an appointment in their car.

The NHS is currently rolling out ‘drive-through’ Coronavirus testing in London and Edinburgh.


The new service is only accessed through a referral from NHS 111 and 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.

After being referred through NHS 111, people are invited to an appointment in their car, during which two community nurses carry out a swab in the nose and mouth, which are checked and assessed within 72 hours.

People are asked to self-isolate while checks are completed, to prevent any potential onward transmission of the virus.


Other plans include calling on District Nurses and Practice Nurses to undertake testing in patients’ homes. 

Helping people get tested.

NHS medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS is working hard to prepare for possible service impacts 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.”

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.”

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