Pangbourne Surgery is a practice with 13,000 patients and nearly shut down due to multiple cases of COVID- 19 across their staff. They needed help confirming and monitoring the virus state to get them back up and running.
Carole Burton Wright is a doctor at the GP surgery, alongside six other doctors and four full-time equivalents. Carole heard about the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network’s testing process through another GP surgery that was working alongside SBL, a lab in the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network. From this Pangbourne Surgery approached SBL to see if they could confirm potential COVID-19 cases and help to get staff members back to work, in turn keeping the surgery open.
What were the concerns and problems?
The main concerns were that the surgery thought they were going to have to close the practice due to staff sicknesses and a lack of available testing. At one point, they were down to limited staff as many were self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms. The surgery also had individuals in the at-risk group that were having to self-isolate.
How is the testing process organised?
Once SBL labs (founder lab of the Volunteer Testing Network) agreed to confirm potential COVID-19 cases, the testing process happened quickly. On the first day of testing Pangbourne Surgery sent nine frontline staff for swabbing, out of this eight were positive for COVID-19. Twelve more individuals were tested on the second day. Carole described the testing process as “Easy and straightforward” with results coming back within four hours.
What difference has the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network had on the practice?
For Pangbourne Surgery, the testing efforts of the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing Network meant that they didn’t have to close the surgery and could keep supporting their patients. Having staff members tested allowed the surgery to manage their team and individuals who needed to self-isolate more efficiently to protect other staff members and patients. It also helped them clinically. Most of the doctors did have COVID-19, and therefore could use personal experiences to help manage their patients, once they got over the virus themselves. As a practice, they also now have a better understanding of the illness than they previously did; for example, what symptoms are likely to be COVID-19. They also gained more of an understanding of the COVID-19 progression period as they could see tests going from weak positives, positives through to negatives.
Moving forwards, the practice feels more confident being able to help their patients due to the testing and knowing that they have already had the virus. It also has decreased anxiety within their staff.
"The testing helps you manage your staff effectively when staff are going down with COVID like symptoms. Everyone at the practice is so grateful for the swabs, and it is massively beneficial in a clinical sense."
Carole Burton Wright
Greg French, Managing Director, Honeyman
‘It's great to have the opportunity to work with the COVID-19 Volunteer Testing network, as it allows us to have a positive contribution during these difficult times, and make an impact in our local community.’