PCW has diversified its Additional Capacity Hubs (ACHs) offering to provide Covid-19 Antibody Testing for social care staff working in Wirral.
The three Covid-19 hubs run by the federation have been adapted to deliver serology tests in response to the NHS decision to expand the national antibody testing programme to include 1.6M social care workers across the country.
The new Covid-19 Antibody Testing Service is available to approximately 9,000 people working in Wirral, including care home staff, domiciliary care, personal assistants and all other adult social care sector professionals.
Everyday testing and drive-thru option
PCW is providing an outdoor infrastructure to minimises cross-contamination at its Covid-19 Hubs at The Oval, West Wirral Group Practice and Victoria Primary Care Centre.
Covid-19 antibody testing is delivered seven days a week, with a team of phlebotomists dedicated to blood sample collection across the three sites and a coordination team in charge of gathering and processing patient data.
The federation is working closely with the Wirral University Teaching Hospital, which will undertake serological analysis and communicate results to patients within approximately 24 hours.
PCW has fully repurposed the Victoria Primary Care Centre hub to exclusively provide serology testing, with appointments running from 9am until 5pm, Monday to Sunday and during bank holidays.
The Oval and West Wirral Group Practice hubs deliver the service from 9am to 1pm, as they continue to operate as primary care clinics for Covid-19 symptomatic patients from 1pm onwards.
The three PCW hubs offer a safe outdoor setting with walk-in and drive-thru options available for service users.
Safest option for staff and service users
Originally created to ensure primary care delivery for Covid-19 symptomatic patients, PCW’s Covid-19 ACHs are one of the main examples of the federation’s continued efforts to provide alternative solutions during the coronavirus pandemic.
In contrast to other local Covid-19 hubs, “PCW has opted to create outdoor clinical environments due to their potential to minimise risk to practices, their staff and patients”, said Mark Fraser, PCW Medical Director.
“The latest scientific evidence indicates the risk of coronavirus transmission is much lower outdoors.
“We made the decision to build the three hubs outside traditional medical settings, using ventilated tent structures and portacabins, as it is simply the best way to maximise ventilation and social distancing.
“Being outdoors also facilitates disinfection between patient visits, reduces potential contamination of buildings, and minimises the risk of virus spread through contact with infected surfaces.
“Most patients use the drive-thru facilities, which further lowers their chances of coming into contact with the virus, as they are required to wait inside their vehicles until their appointments start.
“Logistically, setting up outdoor hubs has been more difficult than using existing clinical space.
“Overall, these open structures allow non-covid activity to continue in the safest possible environment and are versatile enough to adapt to future challenges presented by the virus.”
PCW hubs are also hosting additional non-Covid-19 activities, including the Healthier South Wirral PCN phlebotomy service, which is currently delivered at The Oval ACH.
Understanding Covid-19 immunity
The Covid-19 Antibody Testing Service for social care staff is part of the national antibody testing programme, started on May 20th, with the objective of collecting highly accurate laboratory data on antibody generation in response to Covid-19.
The evidence gathered will help clinicians and scientists improve their understanding of the level and duration of immunity following infection, as well as providing a clearer map of virus prevalence in different regions across the country.
Antibody testing facilitates the monitoring of key populations, i.e. healthcare and social care staff, and helps to determine whether someone has already had the virus, however positive results will not confirm immunity to Covid-19 at this stage.
Booking a Covid-19 Antibody Test
Any social care staff working in Wirral can book an appointment at any of the three PCW Covid-19 hubs by contacting: