Boots UK has opened two new Covid-19 testing centres for NHS staff, with employees from the multiple performing tests on health workers free of charge.
One of the centres is based in the company’s Nottingham headquarters, and the other is on the Chessington World of Adventures site in Greater London. Tests have been taking place at the Nottingham facility for the past week.
NHS workers who are self-isolating due to concerns they may be infected with Covid-19 can attend one of the centres to have a test carried out. Those eligible for testing will be invited by their employer.
In a statement issued on the weekend, Boots managing director Seb James said: “We are proud to support our fellow NHS colleagues by helping to test them for Covid-19 so that many can return to their heroic work with confidence at a time of extraordinary pressure.”
The Boots-run centres form part of a wider drive by the Government to roll out testing for health workers, with support from the private sector.
Mr James said: "We will work with the NHS to recruit trained professionals – both Boots colleagues and from the wider community.
" I am sure there will be many trained healthcare clinicians and students, who will step forward to support our dedicated NHS colleagues. Drive through test locations are being defined but will be spread across the UK; they will not however be in Boots stores, allowing our colleagues to focus on supporting our patients and customers."
PSNC says it has had confirmation from the Government that pharmacy teams will be eligible for the NHS worker Covid-19 testing programme.
Mr James also outlined some of the safety measures being introduced to protect staff from Covid-19 infection, saying: “We are putting up protective screens in our stores to keep you and our colleagues safer, and in many cases [we are] limiting the number of people in our stores.
“We are closing some stores during the day for an hour or so to clean them and give our teams a break.
“We have marked out our floors and closed some sections of our stores so that people can keep a safe distance apart.
“We are having to limit the most vital and in demand items, so there’s enough to go around.
“These are sensible and safe things to do and we thank you for your help.”
Mr James urged customers: “Please, please observe social distancing to keep you and our teams safe. And please, please be kind to our colleagues – they are all trying their very best to support you.”
Boots has also recently said staff from its beauty counters are no longer required to come to work, although they are being encouraged to work alongside their pharmacy colleagues to support them during a time of unprecedented demand.