Hospital trust launches drive-through injection service for vulnerable patients

Posted: Thursday 30 April 2020

Staff at University Hospital Southampton have launched a new drive-through service for vulnerable patients who need sight-saving injections during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ophthalmology team at UHS has redesigned its services to reduce the risk in all patients who need anti-VEGF treatment after seeing a significant number of patients cancelling their appointments.

The redesign includes a drive-through service which sees patients brought to the doors of the eye unit at University Hospital Southampton (UHS).

From there they are met by a member of staff who carries out a temperature check and screens them for potential coronavirus symptoms before they step out of the car.

They are then walked directly to the injection suite to receive their injection before being walked back to their car in a process which takes around 15 minutes.

Professor Andrew Lotery, Medical Retina lead at UHS and Chair of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ Scientific Committee said: “We are proud that we have been able to put together innovative solutions to ensure our elderly patients get the eye care they need whilst minimising the risk of them contracting the coronavirus.”

Jo Powell, matron for ophthalmology at UHS, added: “It involved a significant team effort from staff in admin, theatres and the medical retinal suite in Southampton, our ophthalmic surgeons and travel department to make it a reality.”

In addition, ophthalmology and theatre staff based at Lymington Hospital have supported the development of an injection list to provide a service for patients closer to home, reducing the number required to make the journey to Southampton.

Jo added: “This is a great example of how services are adapting to the challenges posed by the  coronavirus to ensure those patients who need their routine services maintained receive the care they need.”

Although the eye unit at Southampton General Hospital has been locked down in recent weeks to minimise the risk to patients and staff, plans are in place to introduce more services to small groups of patients in the coming weeks.