A new drive-thru blood testing service in Armagh has been broken into over the weekend – just weeks after it was opened.
The Southern Trust confirmed to Armagh I that the service at St Luke’s was “operating as normal” following the break-in during which fire extinguishers were removed and discharged.
The Trust has said that “no significant damage was caused and services were not impacted”.
The new drive-thru blood testing service is being piloted at the Armagh site in order to reduce the need for patients to attend at a hospital.
Melanie McClements, Director of Acute Services for the Trust, at the time explained: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been doing everything we can to reduce footfall in our clinical facilities to prevent the potential spread and reduce the risk of infection to vulnerable patients.
“We have been exploring new ways to avoid hospital attendance when at all possible, for example by developing a wide range of virtual clinics where clinicians use telephone or video technology for patient consultations.
“The drive through phlebotomy (blood testing) service is another creative way of making sure that patients can continue with important diagnosis and treatment.”
The person taking your blood is in appropriate PPE and able to draw a sample from the passenger or driver without them leaving their car. These are then sent on to the laboratory.
Ms McClements added: “While helping with social distancing by significantly reducing traffic on hospital sites, the efficiency of this new system allows us to undertake more blood tests than we normally would have in the same time.
“Most importantly, it is proving very safe and convenient for patients, whilst making sure they receive the diagnosis and treatment they need.”
It is hoped that following the pilot, the service will be extended to an additional two locations – for the Newry and Mourne and Craigavon and Banbridge localities.