In January, Halewood launched its first COVID-19 Rapid Testing Hub, which is part of our ongoing partnership with Public Health England (PHE) in the fight to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.
As the centre reached a momentous testing milestone last week- with more than 5000 lateral flow tests carried out to date- we spoke to Katherine Lea, Senior Workplace Advisor at Halewood, who has overseen the roll out of the new testing hub.
A former specialist practitioner, with 29 years’ experience of working in Occupational Health roles across a multitude of industry sectors, including global defence systems provider, BAE and Merseyside Probation Service to name a few, Kath joined Halewood in March 2020- just two weeks before the start of the pandemic.
Kath said: “Getting to grips with a new job at the height of a global health crisis was definitely a career first for me and one I’ll never forget, but I’ve been so impressed by what has been achieved at Halewood and the strict safety measures that have been put in place to ensure people can safely continue to come into work and do their jobs effectively.
“So much has been done over the last year to allow our factory doors to firstly open and continue to remain open, so the new testing centre is in addition to all this and is the next step in managing the pandemic alongside the hard work which has already been done since the start.
“We’ve been having weekly calls with Public Health England since the plant went back to full production and the new testing centre has developed naturally from that partnership and has been driven directly by them.
“What does that mean for our employees? Getting a test at Halewood is the same experience as getting one done at any of the other NHS testing site in the country, so our colleagues can be rest assured that we are working to their robust standards and its part of a national effort.
Asked whether employees should opt to take part in Halewood’s Rapid Testing programme, Kath added: “Getting tested is voluntary, however, if you have been contacted by the NHS Track and Trace app, we would strongly encourage you to because if you are found to be negative, it means you can safely continue to come into work, rather than having to isolate, which is having a significant impact on production and the ecomonic wellbeing of the plant. It also means you can feel confident that you won’t be passing the virus on to anyone else in your household, those who may be vulnerable or in your support bubble.
“When it comes to Halewood-if people aren’t coming to in work, our plant can’t stay open - it’s that simple. Having a testing centre on site is a unique opportunity for us and means we can help to protect one another whilst safely continuing to do our day jobs, all whilst remaining a degree of normality- something many of us are craving during these challenging and complex times.”
To find out more about lateral testing, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms”