Tonbridge School is giving over part of the school site to an appointment-only NHS Assessment Centre for patients.
The drive-through facility, being set up in the car park at the Tonbridge School Centre, will be used by NHS workers to assess patients from the Tonbridge Primary Care Network (Warders, Hadlow, Hildenborough Medical Group, Woodlands and Tonbridge Medical Group). Similar projects are being set up in other areas.
The opening date for the Assessment Centre is still be confirmed by the NHS. Once open, it is expected to operate between 8am and 6pm on weekdays.
All patients attending are required to have talked to a GP, or to have telephoned NHS 111, prior to coming to the centre, and this service is by appointment only. The service is designed to assess people with Covid-19 symptoms, and will therefore help relieve the enormous pressure currently being placed upon surgeries and hospitals.
A marquee is being put up in the Tonbridge School Centre (TSC) car park; this will house up to four cars at any one time, and people are expected to be assessed in their cars.
The TSC has been chosen as it can be completely self-contained, therefore leaving ample safe distance between the main school, school accommodation and the wider community.
Dr Ginny Winstanley, Clinical Director, Tonbridge Primary Care Network, has been organising the new facility alongside Dr Nicola Perry (NHS West Kent). Dr Winstanley said: “As many people will be aware the NHS is currently trying to support as many people as possible presenting with COVID symptoms, via the 111 system. GPs are assisting in the process by providing additional assessment to patients over the phone as required.
“In the majority of cases, patients with mild symptoms can be reassured and managed at home. Some patients will inevitably require face to face assessment, and the idea behind the Tonbridge hub was to do this in an environment with minimal risk to staff and the public, leaving our usual practices 'clean' to continue to deliver medical services as required.”
Dr Winstanley added: “We cannot thank Tonbridge School staff enough at this time for the way they have stepped forward and given amazing support to the NHS, as we try and support our local community through the Covid 19 crisis. I would also like to thank the great number of community volunteers who are helping to make this new facility possible.”
James Priory, Tonbridge’s Headmaster, said: “The school would like to thank all of the staff who have worked so quickly to bring this new and important facility into operation in such a short time, and to assure the NHS, and the wider community, of our total support in these difficult times.”
The NHS and the school would like to thank Party Doctors for loaning its marquee free of charge, and Wettons Cleaning Services for donating a large stock of hazmat suits.
Picture: The drive-through facility being constructed at Tonbridge School Centre.