A drive-in coronavirus testing centre has opened at Haydock Park as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for thousands more NHS workers.
The site is part of a rapidly expanding network of testing centres being set up around the UK, and will operate on an appointment basis for self-isolating key NHS workers, or the symptomatic member of their family. These NHS workers will be selected and contacted directly by their NHS Trust.
The opening of the Haydock Park testing centre follows the launch of the Government's partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK, with more than a dozen other new testing centres already opened across the country.
This network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests - which are used to identify if people currently have the virus - for critical key workers, starting with NHS front line staff. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible, and those who test positive are able to recover.
Dickon White, Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses North West, said: “Due to the coronavirus outbreak horseracing and other events have been suspended, so we’re delighted to provide Haydock Park as a testing site for NHS staff who doing such an amazing job for us all.
“Haydock Park is ideally located near to Manchester, Liverpool and other major North West towns, as well as having very good transport links, so hopefully an ideal and easy location for NHS staff to get to.”
Key workers tested at the drive-in centres will receive their test results within a few days.
The Government is also urgently working on setting up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon's logistics network and other commercial partners.
The Health Minister, Lord Bethell, said: “The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.
“This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff need to stay at home meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work. This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.”
The Haydock Racecourse Testing Centre is being staffed by G4S and operated in partnership with Boots. It provides up to five drive-through lanes, in operation from 9am to 5pm.