The John Lewis Partnership has become one of the first UK businesses to pilot and roll out mass Covid-19 testing in its workforce.
The retail group, which owns supermarket Waitrose and department store John Lewis, piloted Covid-19 testing at the John Lewis distribution centre at Magna Park, Milton Keynes, in November, at a time when it was processing about 135,000 johnlewis.com website orders a day during the month. Up to 1,000 staff and temporary agency workers volunteered to be tested up to three times a week using the NHS Test and Trace lateral flow testing in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care.
Now the group is expanding testing to about 16,000 members of staff and temporary agency workers at 40 John Lewis and Waitrose sites, across its supply chain, distribution centre and at. some of its shops.
Andrew Murphy, executive director for operations at the John Lewis Partnership, says: “We’re proud to have helped develop and establish a testing scheme that contributes towards the UK’s fight against Covid-19. We already have a wide range of measures in place to keep our partners and customers safe and rapid testing builds on this at our busiest time of the year.”
Baroness Dido Harding, interim executive chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, says: “This pilot is one of many which will lay the foundations for the next phase of NHS Test and Trace with rapid, targeted testing which will allow us to identify even more people who may be unknowingly carrying the virus, more quickly.
“In addition to the testing taking place in work places such as the John Lewis Partnership, we are carrying out rapid, regular testing in hospitals, care homes, universities and other areas that we value and that we need as a society to stay open and stay safe.”