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Coronavirus Kent: Drive-thru site at Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable to treat Covid-19 patients under construction

A drive-thru site for treating probable Covid-19 patients is being constructed at Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable.

It comes after the news surgeries are changing the way they operate to cope with the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr John Ribchester has revealed the plans for a drive-thru site. Picture: Chris Davey
Dr John Ribchester has revealed the plans for a drive-thru site. Picture: Chris Davey

There will be a two-tier system of sites at surgeries.

These will be either "hot sites" - facilities to assess and treat possible Covid-19 patients - or "cold sites" for those who don't have any symptoms of the virus, nor do any members of their household.

Even those patients in the most at risk groups, who are self-isolating at home, can be invited to attend a cold site.

The hot site for Whitstable is currently part of Estuary View Medical Centre.

But a separate drive-thru site is under construction in the Estuary View car park - which is set to go live next week and will be used as a hot site.

The Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable
The Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable

All patients with Covid-19 symptoms are asked to phone NHS 111 for triage and advice, and the "most ill" will be given an appointment time to attend their local hot site.

Those who are less unwell will be asked to continue to self isolate, but to call 111 again should their condition worsen.

Patients of Whitstable Medical Practice may also be referred to the hot site by their own GP following telephone triage.

Dr John Ribchester, senior and executive partner at Whitstable Medical Practice, told KentOnline: "The advantages of a separate hot site in the Estuary View car park include an ability to separate patients who are probably infected from those who are probable not, thereby reducing the risk of cross infection.

"In-car drive through assessment further reduces the risk of cross infection, whilst also allowing for a more speedy service.

"This will be necessary if the predictions of a rapid rise in cases are correct."

The hot site will be open from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday until further notice.

Its Urgent Treatment Centre will remain open from 8am to 8pm every day including bank holidays.

People are encouraged to phone 01227 284309 to be given appointment times to reduce the risk of crowding in the waiting areas.

Dr Ribchester added: "We are very grateful for the many supportive messages, and offers of help we are receiving during this very difficult time for all of us, and for the NHS."

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