25 March 2020

Drive-through testing clinic for doctors opens in Sydney

This week a drive through clinic for healthcare professionals was set up in Sydney’s inner west to speed up COVID-19 testing so that doctors can get back to work sooner.

Dr Michael Moore, the CEO of Central and Eastern Sydney PHN and a GP by training, said the drive-through clinic would allow doctors to get COVID-19 tests back quickly, allowing them to return to work if the test was negative.

“It means that healthcare professionals can get checks quickly and efficiently and if they test negative, they can know quickly and can continue to work by telehealth,” he said.

“If they test positive, they can take steps to protect themselves and their family.”

The clinic was being run by Sydney Local Health District and was located at the Inner West Council Depot on 7 Prospect Rd in Summer Hill.

No referral was required for docts to access the clinic.

The clinic was open seven days a week between 9am and 3pm.

Doctors visiting the clinic should stop in the covered area and advise the attendant that they are a GP.

Once the doctor is checked in, they can proceed down the driveway and park in a testing bay or wait until one is vacant.

Doctors should stay in their car while they wait. Someone from the clinic will approach the car and take a swab of the patients’ nostrils and throat. GPs will be required to self-isolate until the test results are available.

Doctors must meet the current testing requirements for COVID-19 to be eligible for testing. There are lower thresholds for COVID-19 testing for healthcare professionals compared with the general community.

The current guidance from NSW Health is that healthcare workers who have fever or respiratory symptoms must immediately self-isolate and should not return to duties until medically assessed. Healthcare workers who have fever and respiratory symptoms must immediately self-isolate and should not return to duties until tested and cleared from COVID-19.

TMR understands that the Summer Hill drive-through clinic is one of the first in Sydney.

A drive-through clinic for the general public was established in Victoria recently by GP Dr Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, however it was at risk of being closed down because of high demand and a shortage of PPE.