Boots is seeking volunteer COVID-19 testers for Preston's College site

Boots is seeking volunteers to swab test NHS workers who have shown symptoms of COVID-19 in Preston.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 1st May 2020, 1:43 pm

The voluntary, unpaid roles will see recruits work on the frontline, tasked with testing those NHS staff who have been in self-isolation after showing symptoms of the deadly virus.

Volunteers are being asked to pledge between 16 hours and 40 hours per week at the testing station at Preston's College in Fulwood.

Successful applicants will work alongside Boots staff as part of a team of test operatives at the site.

Drive-through testing is available for NHS staff at Preston's College in Fulwood. Credit: Ben Stansall via Getty Images

The job advertisement says: "Boots has a strong and trusted heritage in supporting the Healthcare of the Nation and in this time of need we are stepping forward to work with the Department of Health, Amazon and a variety of organisations to set up and resource testing stations across the country to test for COVID 19.

"The primary objective is to test NHS teams and allow those who test negative to return to work on the frontline confident in the knowledge they are not positive for coronavirus.

"NHS Staff are working around the clock to get ready for the peak of this pandemic and it is only right that we use every resource at our disposal to bolster the frontline in the face of this unprecedented challenge for our NHS."

Boots said it has been tasked with carrying out testing at the site, in place of the NHS, to allow NHS staff to continue caring for patients at Royal Preston Hospital.

Unpaid volunteers will be tasked with carrying out swab tests on NHS staff who hope to return to work after self-isolating with symptoms of coronavirus. Credit: Getty

It said: "Screening is currently taking place, however, the volumes required to combat the virus are significant and it is clear more support is required for testing.

"We have been asked to support the countries' efforts to understand infection rates and help with workforce demands to allow the NHS to continue caring for patients."

It said full training will be provided and full PPE will be supplied in line with NHS standards.

The same job - but paid - is being advertised by French management services company Sodexo, in conjunction with the Department of Health.

The testing centre at Preston's College in St Vincent's Road, Fulwood. Copyright: jpimedia

It is paying successful applicants £17.50 per hour to carry out swab testing to NHS staff at Preston's College.

Sodexo and Boots are among a number of privately-owned companies recruiting on behalf of HM Government for roles at testing sites across the country.

You can view the Sodexo job advertisement here.

The Post approached Boots and asked why volunteers are not being paid for the work, but it has declined to comment.

More about the role

- Hours per week: 16 to 24 hours per week | 25 to 34 per week | Over 35 hours per week

- Shifts are between 8am and 8pm to cover a working pattern over 7 days a week, with rest breaks.

- Applicants must be in general good health and not classified as in any of the COVID High risk groups therefore:

- Must not have a long-term condition

- Must not be pregnant

- Must not have a weakened immune system through medical conditions or therapy

- Must not be over 70

In addition, applicants must consider the following: -

- Ability to physically stand for several hours

- Willingness to work outside (weather protection will be provided)

- Mobility as will need to be able to reach into a vehicle to take swabs of both throat and nasal passages at potentially awkward angles.

- Risk status of family members in the same household.

- Must ensure short nails and no acrylics or false nails

- Long hair to be tied back

You can apply to volunteer here.