The site is part of aa expanding network of testing centres being set up around the UK, and will operate on an appointment basis for self-isolating key NHS workers, or the symptomatic member of their family. These NHS workers will be selected and contacted directly by their NHS Trust.
This follows the launch of the Government’s partnership with universities, research institutes and companies to begin rollout of the network of new labs and field testing sites across the UK, with 15 new testing centres opened to date.
They say that this network will provide thousands more PCR swab tests, which are used to identify if you currently have the virus, for critical key workers – starting with NHS front line staff. This means those who test negative for coronavirus can return to work as soon as possible, and those who test positive are able to recover.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
The Government is rapidly scaling up the national effort to boost testing capacity for coronavirus to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives.
This new service will help end the uncertainty of whether NHS and social care staff need to stay at home meaning those who test negative will be able to return to work.
This is a national effort and we are proud to be working with a number of partners to turn this ambition into a reality and roll out additional capacity to where it is needed.
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said:
New testing sites such as this one are a key pillar of our 5-pillar plan to scale up testing, and are critical in supporting NHS staff who are isolating at home to return safely to work if the test is negative.
This is a brilliant example of industries and businesses turning their resources to creating and rolling out mass testing at scale, which will help to deliver on our aim of carrying out 100,000 tests a day in England by the end of the month.
The Leeds Temple Green testing centre is being operated in partnership with Sodexo and medical staff from Boots. It will provide up to 5 drive-through lanes, in operation from 10 am to 5pm. The site is being piloted for its first few days of operation.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
It is crucial that NHS workers and other frontline staff are able to access testing quickly and the opening of this new facility will ensure this begins to happen in Leeds.
Sean Haley, regional chair of Sodexo UK & Ireland said:
Sodexo teams have moved quickly to set up COVID-19 testing centres as part of the industry-wide effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening of the Leeds testing site will mean more frontline NHS and other staff can be tested and cleared to provide care to those who need it most.
I am proud of our colleagues who are working together with pace and dedication to support the NHS.
A Boots UK Spokesperson said:
We feel incredibly proud to be supporting COVID-19 testing for NHS workers in Leeds.
Boots has been at the heart of UK healthcare for 171 years and has always come forward to support the community in times of need. Our team in Leeds is no exception. Some of our colleagues have already stepped forward to volunteer to run this COVID-19 testing station, which will start testing its first NHS workers today.
Dr David Black, medical director for NHS England in North East and Yorkshire, said:
Thank you to all our teams for working so hard over the last few days to support this national programme, including our local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS trusts and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership.
We welcome this facility which will increase staff testing capability across the patch and is in addition to the work already happening in our hospital labs. Importantly, this will enable wider groups of staff to access testing and return to work quicker if their test proves negative, as well offering some reassurance for them.
Key workers tested at the drive-in sites will receive their test results within a few days.
Samples from the testing sites will be analysed at new labs that have been set up in Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow, using Thermo Fisher Scientific test machines loaned by universities across the country and public sector research establishment. Industry are also actively helping to establish these laboratories and the Government is working with Boots and other partners to set-up over 50 regional test centres around the country.
The Government is also urgently working on setting up a home-testing service for critical key workers, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners.