Coronavirus: No testing at Altnagelvin Covid-19 centre

Altnagelvin Hospital
Image caption The centre at Altnagelvin Hospital will be the "middle ground" for the moderate to severe cases

People should not think the new Covid-19 Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital is a coronavirus testing centre, a Londonderry GP has said.

The assessment centre in Derry will operate at the out-of-hours Western Urgent Care building at Altnagelvin.

Cases will be assessed by GPs and the most seriously-ill patients will then be transferred to specialist wards.

Dr Nichola Herron, told BBC Radio Foyle there was "absolutely no testing facilities" there.

"Even the patients that are very unwell in the centre, they will not be getting tested there," she said.

Officials stress that they are not for walk-ins.

People have been encouraged to phone their GP as usual. They will then advise whether you should attend an assessment centre.

The Altnagelvin centre is one of the first to open in Northern Ireland.

They allow assessments for coronavirus to be moved away from normal GP practices.

Dr Herron added that "it became very apparent it was not safe bringing people with covid type symptoms into the health centre for assessment".

Dr Tom Black from the British Medical Association said it was hoped 13 such centres would be operating within a week.

The centre at Altnagelvin Hospital will be the "middle ground" for the moderate to severe cases, Dr Black said.