Costa drive-through blood tests 'a genius idea'

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image copyrightCornish Pirates
image captionPlayers from the Cornish Pirate rugby team have been helping marshal patients at the new clinic

A drive-through blood test clinic has been set up at a branch of Costa Coffee in Cornwall.

The clinic, which minimises contact between patients and staff, allows pinprick tests to be carried out in seconds without leaving the car.

It means patients who need regular tests, such as those on the blood thinner warfarin, can avoid having to visit the surgery.

Dr Matthew Boulter, whose surgery set it up, said: "It's just a genius idea.

"The patients have universally loved it. It is far more efficient [than going to the surgery]. They drive up, finger comes out, ping and done."

image captionDr Matthew Boulter and Tracey Hembrough say patients have taken to the drive-through clinic

Tracey Hembrough, nurse partner at the Alverton Practice at St Clare Medical Centre in Penzance, came up with the idea.

She said some patients had been a little "dubious to start with and drove round just to see if it was actually happening" but have since been very responsive to it.

The clinic will open twice a week, initially with patients from St Clare's three practices, but then extending to other GP surgeries in the area.

Dr Boulter said Costa Coffee "could not have been more helpful" and added the system was so good he would be looking at ways of continuing a drive-through service after the coronavirus crisis ended.

image captionDr Boulter said the contact between patient and nurse was fleeting and reduced the risk of transmission of coronavirus

A spokeswoman for Costa Coffee said the company was "pleased" to be supporting the NHS.

She added: "By using our drive-through lane, we can help enable social distancing whilst ensuring patients continue to receive their regular check-ups."

Players from the Cornish Pirates rugby team have been helping marshal patients.

The clubs's Simon Edwards said players had been volunteering at the medical centre pharmacy, marshalling the queues and encouraging people to keep to recommended social distancing.

He said: "We have been delighted to extend this to the Costa drive-through - including politely turning away people who think it is open still for a coffee."

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