Taxis are “well positioned” to assist new ’Hot-Hub’ pilot COVID-19 patient testing scheme says UCG

Black cabs are “well positioned” to assist in new ’Hot-Hub’ pilot COVID-19 patient testing scheme says UCG.

London taxi driver representatives, United Cabbies Group (UCG), contacted the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, detailing the reasons why London taxis should be seriously considered in the new COVID-19 clinical testing scheme.

Partnering with the NHS, the London taxi trade could help deliver coronavirus “testing up to ten times faster” and protect frontline healthcare staff by reducing the infection risk, freeing up 100’s of hours of clinical time every week and making many more ambulances available.

Traditional black taxis have a partition separating the driver and passengers travelling in the vehicle. Dimensions shared with Mr Shapps also show the Mercedes Vito and electric LEVC TXE taxi models position the passenger over the government’s recommended 2 metre distance too.

Trevor Merralls, UCG General Secretary, wrote in the letter saying: “London Taxis can provide a fully inclusive and accessible door to door service which can be utilised to act and support the emergency services to deliver people, medicine and other necessities.

“The London Taxi Trade is well positioned in view of our purpose built vehicle where the partition can be clinically sealed, our unique training and enhanced vetting to support essential public services, provide a link to supporting the elderly, vulnerable and those self-isolating in and around London in this unprecedented crisis.

“Following our letter to the Health Secretary, we were approached along with our colleagues in the LTDA, by a key Primary Care Trust to be involved in providing transport for a Pilot COVID-19 Patient Testing facility or “Hot Hub”. This scheme partnering with the NHS will help deliver COVID-19 testing up to ten times faster as it will protect frontline healthcare by reducing the infection risk, freeing up 100’s of hours of clinical time every week and making many more ambulances available.

“Black Cab drivers from across London have stepped forward to help the NHS deliver this pilot, which is recognised for being safer than any other methods currently being deployed in the UK.”

Hot-hubs are to be set up in number of locations around the UK specifically for patients with underlying health problems who also have COVID-19 symptoms.

The appointment-only clinics will be available for anyone who is referred by their GP.

Lynn Millar, Director of Primary Care for the NHS Staffordshire Clinical Commission Group, said: “There are particular concerns about people who are self-isolating at home who have long-term conditions such as asthma or diabetes, or if they are pregnant, who start to show symptoms of COVID-19.

“If directed by 111 they should contact, but not visit, their GP surgery and if their doctor thinks they need further assessment they can be referred to the hot-hub.

“When they arrive they will be asked to wait outside, and then they will be seen on a one-in-one-out basis. This is the best way to minimise the risk to both patients and staff.

“The hot-hub will either be able to advise on treatment or refer the patient to hospital if they think that is best.”

Image credit: Dynamo Taxi

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