A second Exeter drive-through coronavirus testing facility NHS and other key workers has opened open at the Honiton Road Park and Ride.
The appointment-only facility for NHS and other key workers is being operated by the Government in partnership with Serco and Boots.
It will offer assisted and self-administered tests – with those who use it receiving their results ‘within a few days’.
The first ‘critical workers’ were tested at the station today (Thursday, April 23).
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff and other key workers 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.”
Kevin Craven, Serco CEO for UK and Europe, added: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government and the NHS in setting up and managing the new testing centre in Exeter as well as the testing centres we are already operating.
“I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues who have worked extremely fast and professionally, and with the other organisations involved, to set up these centres having deployed from other roles within Serco. I know that they are proud to be doing their part in helping the country tackle coronavirus”
A Boots UK spokesperson said: “Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Exeter is no exception.
“Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this Covid-19 testing station, which will start testing its first critical workers on Thursday.”
Professor John Newton, national coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, added: “This is a brilliant example of industries and businesses turning their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, which will help to deliver on our aim of carrying out 100,000 tests a day across the UK by the end of the month.”
Councillor John Hart, leader of Devon County Council which owns the Honiton Road Park and Ride site, said: “We are very happy to provide the site for this essential testing facility in Devon, working collaboratively with a range of organisations to support the NHS and key workers.”
Another drive-through Covid-19 testing centre for NHS staff opened at Exeter Chiefs’ home, Sandy Park, on Tuesday.
The service is being run on behalf of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital by charity Devon Freewheelers, which will swab people from the safety of their own cars, then transport samples to the testing laboratory.
Tests will be offered only through referral and by appointment, and the service is not open to the public.