Recently I did an update on home testing for coronavirus and I thought you’d like to know more about it. It looks like it could be crucial in our fight against the outbreak.

Necessity is the mother of invention and never more so as we search for ways to handle this crisis.

I described one such initiative in my daily update for the Mirror.

It involved a new plan to do testing for coronavirus in people’s own homes instead of them being transported to hospital for the test.

The story begins with Dr Laurence John from the infectious diseases department at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, Greater London.

He told the British Medical Journal that the need for community testing became clear after 25 ambulances were taken out of service in one ­afternoon to be ­decontaminated after carrying ­potential cases to hospital.

People in London with suspected Covid-19 are being tested at home in a pilot study designed to stop unnecessary ambulance use and hospital visits

As a result, people in London with suspected Covid-19 are being tested at home in a pilot study designed to stop unnecessary ambulance use and hospital visits.

The community-testing scheme, which began last month at North West London NHS Trust, has been ­implemented in three other trusts: University College London Hospital, St George’s University Hospital, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

In the pilot, patients are referred from GPs, NHS 111 or emergency departments to community-testing hubs.

Once it is established they’re well enough to remain at home, they can self-isolate.

Within 24 hours, a health professional will go to the person’s home to perform a diagnostic test and say what to do in the event of ­deterioration, and will give a contact number.

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They are then phoned with results and, if they are found to be infected, are admitted to hospital. More than 130 patients have been tested in two weeks.

The scheme was developed by the London ­Ambulance Service, NHS England, NHS 111, and Public
Health England.

Community and primary care provider multi-disciplinary response teams will be created to do the tests.

Mr John said: “Very quickly we realised that [transporting people to hospital for testing]
was going to be very ­inefficient.

“The other observation was that we were not seeing very sick patients; these were people that would normally be seen in primary care.

“So we tried to think of another way to do it. The idea of home visits came from there, and then it was just a case of working out a protocol.

“We have now shown that it can be done, so the next step is getting the community teams involved.”

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