After a number of their clinic venues were closed due to COVID-19, the Sefton Anticoagulation Service, based at Aintree Hospital, launched drive-thru clinics so that patients on blood thinning medication could continue to receive their routine medication check-ups from the comfort of their car. The Trust is believed to be the first in the North West to take this approach.
Patients are given a five minute appointment slot and the check-up, which consists of a consultation and a finger prick blood test with a hand-held monitoring device, is conducted through the patient’s car window by a member of hospital staff wearing PPE.
Ian Fleming, Community Anticoagulant Service Manager at Aintree, led on the development of the drive-thru clinics.
He said: “We had two issues. Firstly, a number of our usual clinic venues, which are in GP practices and health centres, were no longer available, meaning the venues that remained open would have increased demand that we needed to manage. Secondly, the majority of our patients are over 60 with underlying health conditions and they were anxious about leaving the home to come to a busy clinic. We came up with the idea of drive-thru clinics and worked with our Sefton clinical commissioning groups and Sefton Council to set up locations at leisure centres so patients who are able to drive and come and have their routine monitoring without having to leave their car.”
Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management for Sefton’s two CCGs, said: “This is an excellent example of how our local services are working flexibly and creatively to ensure some of our most clinically vulnerable patients have continued to receive the care and treatment they need during this time and we were delighted to have worked with Aintree and the council to make this happen.”
The clinics take place twice weekly at Dunes Splash World and Litherland Sports Park and see around 180 patients across both sites. Patients who cannot drive are given appointments at one of the remaining clinic venues.
Janet Davies, Clinical Lead Practitioner in Anticoagulation at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are all having to adapt to new ways of working at the moment and the clinics have proved to be an effective way of monitoring our patients during these unprecedented times. The response from patients has been great, which is a tribute to Ian’s hard work leading this project.”
When the first sessions took place in April, Cllr Ian Moncur Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “I am pleased we have been able to collaborate with our NHS colleagues to make possible these sessions to provide safe and convenient testing for local people.”
Pictured L-R: David Rhead, Biomedical Scientist and Deputy Service Manager, and Ian Fleming, Community Anticoagulant Service Manager at Aintree Hospital.