NHS staff drive-through test centre created in North Greenwich

An NHS staff test centre has been established on a car park in North Greenwich – and isn’t very busy according to reports today.

It’s early days of course and anything that helps is welcome though a few questions are raised. Firstly, why in a city where car ownership is low is a drive-through only centre established? I’ve heard of staff without cars frustrated by this policy.

The Peninsula’s sprawling car parks

North Greenwich isn’t exactly central in the borough. Even if it was widened to those arriving on foot, bus, train or tube then it’s still a bit of a stretch for many to reach. Especially those staff who work long and often antisocial hours to support others.

Wouldn’t that big field directly next to Queen Elizabeth Hospital make sense for a test centre for NHS staff? And for those without cars and/or based away from hospitals, a town centre location such as Woolwich would be better. Many work long hours for low pay and will live around or visit town centres for food shopping (and often facing waits to enter stores).

Or there’s the radical idea to test staff in hospitals which still doesn’t seem to be happening to any great degree.

Anyway, a massive thanks to all NHS staff working so hard right now.





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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

10 thoughts on “NHS staff drive-through test centre created in North Greenwich

  • The people who come up with these ideas live in houses in suburbia and drive cars. They often forget that many people live in flats with no gardens and don’t have cars.

    These people also make many of the adverts you see on telly each day. Everyone lives in big houses where the kitchen is often the size of today’s new build flats.

  • It’s a massive space that can easily be converted for this kind of use. I would imagine that’s the thought process. There are thousands of households with cars, within a fairly small radius of North Greenwich, so why not use the space?
    The other sites you mention will probably end up being used as well.

  • There was a coronavirus testing centre next to Queen Marys Hospital in a car park 4 weeks ago when I was attending there for some treatment. Do we know if it is still there and being used?. This was also very lightly used back then with hardly anyone using it.

    This apperars to be the same for all the other Coronavirus Testing sites. NHS Staff do need to do their upmost to get to the testing centres that have been provided.

    I agree with Paddy with regard to car onwership for thousands of households. The majority of doctors and nurses drive hence the parking problems for staff with cars parked the length of Charlton Park Lane, Cemetery Lane and other local roads around the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as public transport is so unrelaible to the hospital from many areas and involves changing of buses.

    i do however, think the Health Authorities themselves need to be doing a lot more to ensure that their staff get tested. Many currently in self isolation may then be able to return to the front line to support colleagues NHS and support staff in the battle against the coronavirus.

    Abbey Travel provide a staff bus between Queen Elizabeth and Lewisham Hospitals. Would it not be possible for a bus to take staff to and from the Hospital and Testing Centres so more people can get tested. Just a thought !!

  • Ok. Paddy first. Do you realise the testing site is for NHS staff by referral only? I’m not sure you do bearing in mind your ‘thousands of households’ comment.

    CDT – They did set up some test centres early on. But they were, in practice, useless. You needed a referral to get a test and they weren’t referring people! Then the decision was made that herd immunity was the way forward so the centres became an irrelevence.

    The comment, “NHS staff do need to do their utmost’ to get to the centres is a doozy! Are they not doing enough right now? And also, yet again, these centres are for referrals only! If you go there without a referral you are turned away! There has been chaos at the centre in Wembley as staff are turning up without referrals to be turned away by security guards.

    And yes, most doctors have a car. Possibly most nurses. Cleaners? Ancillary staff? Cooks? Technicians? Security? Porters? Etc etc etc.

    We’re over a month into this and only 5,000 staff in hospitals have been tested. (The NHS itself employs over a million people, I’m not sure how many are in hospitals.)

    That is a truly abysmal figure.

  • Chris I do take some of your points on board.. It is absolutely absured that NHS staff have to be referred to the Testing Centres no wonder not many people are using them at the moment. This is something the Government urgently needs to rectify to speed up testing of NHS staff.

    Any member of staff employed directly by the NHS or one of its contractors providing staff like ISS who provide porters, cleaners etc should be able to go direct to a Testing Centres with out a referral and just show their ID as proof they work for or on behalf of the NHS. This should also apply to home carers looking after people in their own homes.

    Yes doctors and nurses are doing more than enough at the moment as are all key workers out there working hard to get us all through this crisis.

  • BBC News reports state NHS staff are not turning up at the Testing Centres the BBC News Reporter was standing at the Wembley Testing Centre yesterday and clearly stated the Testing Centre had been very quiet all day. Where did you get this information from Chris?

    CDT I think the idea of a shuttle bus between Hospitals and Testing Centres is an excellent idea and would hopefully allow for more NHS staff to get tested.

  • I think you are totally right Chris. Lets hope the testing kits start to arrive at the testing centres where they are needed so our hard working and dedicated NHS staff can be tested as quickly as possible.

  • Thank you Chris, Trust the BBC Reporter to get it wrong and not give the full story as usual.

    My heart goes out to everyone affected by coronavirus which is a very cruel nasty disease.

  • Hi Chris – no, I didn’t realise it was by referral only. That doesn’t make sense. I think using the site makes a lot of sense but surely better ways to do it.

    What not a drive through for anyone who is referred? Once they have the kits available of course.


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