Covid-19: Paramedics in Oxford trial home testing

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South Central Ambulance paramedic

image copyrightSCAS

An ambulance service has begun testing patients for Covid-19 at home to reduce delays on arrival at hospital.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) says it has launched the trial for all patients aged 18 and over who are being taken to Oxford University Hospitals.

Paramedics are using lateral flow tests, with results given within 30 minutes.

Dr John Black, medical director at SCAS, said the pilot could be expanded to other areas if successful.

He said Covid positive and negative patients were kept apart on admission to hospital so waiting for test results could “contribute to ambulance handover delays and a bottleneck”.

“This is a small study to begin with in Oxford, so it will not happen with every patient transfer across SCAS,” Dr Black added.

“However, further rollout to a wider area will be considered if the concept is proved through the pilot and there is sufficient access to lateral flow devices.”

The test involves placing a swab in the nose or mouth which is then mixed with a solution that looks for virus fragments. Droplets are then placed on the device and a result given within 30 minutes.

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