15th May 2020
Testing symptomatic staff has allowed us to identify Covid-19 cases and ensure that we’re able to immediately provide support to those who have become infected, advising that they self-isolate from others until their symptoms disappear to keep their families and contacts safe.
Health Service General Management Trainee, Annie Wiggam has been working closely with Occupational Health and Microbiology to co-ordinate staff screening and testing, aiming to turn results around as quickly as possible.
It’s important that we continue to test staff to protect themselves, their families, loved ones and of course our patients. The team estimate they have helped to save approximately 9,222 days that staff could possibly have been unnecessarily isolating, with the added stress that causes, without knowing a definitive result.
If you or a member of your household are symptomatic, you can contact the team through the Workforce Helpline.
Occupational Health staff will initially screen you over the phone, offer advice and refer you for testing at the pod on the Craigavon site if needed. Since they set up seven weeks ago, the helpline has received on average each week – 360 calls from staff reporting Covid-19 signs or symptoms and around 273 calls for advice only.
Details are forwarded to the testing team twice a day and depending on demand, staff who need an appointment at the pod will be seen within 12-24 hours. A total of 2,757 staff have been screened and last Tuesday pod staff completed a record of 105 staff tests in one day.
Results are usually back within 48 hours depending on demand with laboratory services who are working hard to process staff tests along with hospital and community patients for Covid-19 and this of course is all in addition to their regular workload to support diagnosis and treatment across services.
Annie says it has been a huge team effort between Occupational Health, Microbiology and all of those staff who have been redeployed from other areas to run the triage and testing. Staff who have been through the service have been so appreciative of the care and compassion from the nursing team who provide the follow-up advice for those who test negative and the medical team who make sure that those who are positive get the right care and treatment they need.
You can contact the Workforce Helpline on Tel: 028 37562600 (option 2).