Drive-through blood tests being offered at Newmarket Road Park and Ride

Drive-through blood tests are shortly to be available at Newmarket Road Park and Ride in Cambridge to help reduce the number of patients coming onto the Addenbrooke’s site during Covid-19.

A row of marquee's set up to be used for the Newmarket Road blood-drive

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is working in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council to set up the facility from Tuesday 25 August. The department usually carries out 700 blood tests a day, around 350 of which are in its Outpatients department.

To cut the risk of infection and reduce the number of patients coming on site, Addenbrooke’s is setting up an open-sided marquee at the Newmarket Road Park and Ride. Operating in a similar way to a petrol filling station, patients will be able to drive up to one of the five clinical stations, roll down their car window and have their blood taken by a trained professional, known as a phlebotomist. Anyone who feels a bit lightheaded will be given the opportunity to recuperate with tea and biscuits.

As well as providing blood tests for Addenbrooke’s, the service is likely to be used by other GP surgeries and medical practices locally to help them cope with patient demand.

Andi Thornton, outpatients operations manager at Addenbrooke’s, said: “We are very grateful to Cambridgeshire County Council for allowing us to use the site.

“We anticipate we will be able to see up to 450 patients a day, which is 100 a day more than we were able to see at the hospital before Covid, providing us with extra capacity to help out other medical practices within the area.”

The hospital is also exploring the possibility of providing walk-in phlebotomy services from GP practices in other areas of its supply zone on a Saturday, and offering a more permanent facilities in the longer term.

The drop-in service will be available between 9.30am and 5pm, Monday to Fridays to anyone who has medical paperwork confirming they need a blood test. Anyone without this, will be turned away. This initiative is expected to run until later this year.

As the phlebotomists will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) and the tests are taking place outdoors, there is no requirement for patients to wear a facemask.

The hospital will continue to offer on-site phlebotomy services to patients on wards or attending clinics at the hospital.

This service is for adult patients only and will replace the phlebotomy service currently provided at the Nuffield Private Hospital.

Cllr Ian Bates, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, said: “I am very pleased that we are able to support Cambridge University Hospitals to ensure that everyone who needs to have a blood test can get one within a reasonable time. This is just one of many things we have done as a council to ensure that those who have needed support with their health during the pandemic, have been able to access it.”

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