Empty shop at major station given over rent-free to ease Covid-19 pressures

An empty shop in one of the UK’s major railway stations is being given over rent-free for routine blood testing to help ease pressures on hospitals.

The former retail space at Birmingham New Street station is set to be used by medics for six months and will be staffed by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).

The temporary phlebotomy clinic, provided by Network Rail, was set up in a bid to “protect healthy people from encountering patients sick with coronavirus” and tests will be by appointment only.

New Street
Birmingham New Street will be giving the space rent-free to the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (Network Rail/PA)

Birmingham New Street station manager Patrick Power said: “We’re doing everything we can to support the NHS in this unprecedented time so offering up this empty retail unit was a real no-brainer.

“The clinic being based in the Midlands’ largest transport hub means it will be extremely easy for people to travel to should a routine blood test be advised by their doctor.

“With some train services being reduced, however, I’d advise people to check www.nationalrail.co.uk daily to check the time of their train.

“I’d also like to reassure passengers that we are following all of Public Health England’s guidelines to keep people safe and continue to regularly deep clean the station to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

Dr David Rosser, UHB chief executive, said: “The trust has made some important decisions which will reduce the number of people attending our hospitals and community services in person.

We've given an empty shop to @uhbtrust so patients needing routine blood tests don't have to visit hospital

The temporary phlebotomy clinic is for patient referrals only🆎🅰️🅱️🅾️

We're doing everything we can to help @NHSuk tackle #coronavirus#COVIDー19https://t.co/dK5o12d9Wwpic.twitter.com/qInJ1lG9ry

— Birmingham New Street (@NetworkRailBHM) March 24, 2020

“The aim is to limit footfall across our sites to ensure only the most acutely unwell inpatients, people who require emergency interventions and those with essential appointments are on site, enabling those who do not need to attend to avoid unnecessary travel and exposure to a large healthcare setting.

“The new off-site clinic is one of the measures that will help ensure we can best meet the needs of our patients during a sustained period of pressure.”

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