NOT one single member of staff at a Covid clinic in Barnsley has tested positive for the virus in the last 18 months – despite coming into contact with more than 7,000 patients with symptoms.
The site, dubbed the ‘Blue Clinic’, is situated at the Oaks Park Primary Care Centre in Kendray and was created a matter of days after the start of the pandemic.
Patients are referred to the site by their GPs if they have coronavirus or if they are showing symptoms – though you don’t need a positive test to attend.
Thomas Croker, head of operations at the Barnsley Healthcare Federation, told the Chronicle: “The Blue Clinic is the designated Covid clinic and it operates in its own separate area away from the GP surgery.
“We created that in April 2020 as we wanted to have a designated safe place for patients to come with coronavirus symptoms that needed face-to-face appointments with their GP.
“It has the added benefit that it reduces the contact with other patients as there’s no waiting area and you wait in your car – we come and get you from your car and then you see the GP.
“From the telephone consultations that the GPs have with their patients they then refer them to the Blue Clinic if needed.
“It’s every day of the year and we have out-of-hour services – and gives the added benefit of keeping patients away from others.”
Since April last year, Thomas estimates that the service has seen around 8,000 people and not one member of staff has tested positive for the virus in that time – a testament to the strict safety measures that have been put in place.
“After every patient we have a ten minute gap which we use to thoroughly clean down the area with very strong products,” he added.
“The clinic room that we see patients in is not the room that the doctor does any of his notes in so it’s a very, very safe location.
“We’ve not had a single staff member diagnosed with coronavirus which goes to show how safe the location is.
“At this moment in time we’re seeing a large amount of children coming in with symptoms and this is the safe location for them to be seen by a GP.
“We’ve been at 100 per cent capacity for the last three to four weeks and we do absolutely everything we can to see all the patients that come through.”
Many residents who get referred to the Blue Clinic are housebound and unable to attend the site itself, in these cases a number of members of staff are designated to partake in home visits.
“We’ve got four cars that go to house visits, two for patients with Covid symptoms and two for patients without coronavirus symptoms – so we practice safe cohorting,” he added.
“The home visitors then go out and check the patient is okay, providing care whilst they’re there.
“We’re looking at increasing capacity for this coming into the winter.
“This service has kept GP services safe and reduced the risk of them closing – it’s been critical.”