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West Herts NHS steers the way with drive-thru testing station

Posted: 24 April 2020

Picture of the drive-throuh testing area in front of which are five female nurses

A team of leading respiratory consultants and nursing staff working at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) have come together to develop a COVID-19 pathway of care for staff, which includes an on-site drive-thru testing facility, to ensure that their staff receive the care they need and deserve.

With a large number of frontline staff currently self-isolating, either because they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or because they have a household member who is symptomatic, WHHT is keen to put in place a range of support options for staff to make sure that they receive the very best care if affected by COVID-19.

The trust, which covers Watford General, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City hospitals, recently won the coveted Nursing Times ‘Best UK employer’ award in recognition of its progress in improving working life for staff.

The clinical pathway, which goes so much further than just providing a testing facility, helps further demonstrate West Herts’ commitment to staff and their families.

The process is simple and all staff are clinically assessed and then tested. This could be at the new drive-thru testing facility in the staff car park at Watford General hospital, at home or at another location.

Staff members considered to be in higher risk groups are tested in A&E and then managed within the ‘COVID-19 Virtual Hospital Model’, led by Dr Matthew Knight. This innovative solution allows respiratory consultants to carefully manage staff at home using simple technology, providing supportive care and close observation.

Paul da Gama, Chief People Officer at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "The dedication of our staff is quite simply awe-inspiring. They are doing such an incredible job caring for our patients and we want to do all we can to keep them safe. We hope that the range of support we are providing, which goes so much further than just providing a testing facility, helps demonstrate our commitment to all our amazing staff and their families."



  1. 1. Any staff working at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust with symptoms of COVID-19 must not come in to work. They should call the COVID-19 Staff Hub on 01923 217342 (open 8am – 6pm, every day) or email as soon as possible.
  2. For more information, please contact the communications team on: email:, For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  3. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  4. For more information about our hospitals, visit You can also join our followers on Twitter ( and find us on Facebook (