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O2 partners with University of Glasgow for 5G-powered Covid clinic

Jasper Hart
July 16, 2020

Three-month trial to inform wider rollout across Scotland

O2 has partnered with the University of Glasgow over a pilot scheme of a Covid-19 testing clinic on wheels.

The clinic, supported by O2’s 5G network, is designed to provide remote testing and tracking of care home residents and workers, as well as essential medical supply delivery, in Glasgow.

O2 is conducting the trial through its Darwin Innovation Group in partnership with Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and James Watt School of Engineering.

Starting this summer, the trial will track Covid-19 cases at six Glasgow care homes, capturing the data of 550 residents and workers over three months.

O2 COO Derek McManus said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this project with our 4G and 5G network to help the Scottish Government and NHS tackle and manage COVID-19. The Darwin laboratory in Glasgow was only officially opened at the start of this year and it’s exciting to be able to show so quickly how we can use innovations in 5G technology to unlock crucial solutions for society and revolutionise the way we use mobile connectivity.”

It will assess how much area a single mobile testing unit can cover, before a potential rollout across the West of Scotland region, where there are 2.7 million similar patients.


The clinic will share the number of COVID-19 tests performed and the results to a secure cloud server via O2’s mobile network. It will then provide a dashboard of real-time epidemiological analysis to the NHS, the Scottish Government and public health organisations.

The project management team will also be able to track the vehicle’s position and behaviour and monitor the number of tests it’s carrying in its inventory to keep it running effectively.

James Watt School of Engineering said Professor Muhammad Imran said: “The utility and scope of a mobile health clinic goes beyond this current pandemic. Engineering a fleet of connected healthcare response mobile units can provide services at the doorsteps of fragile and constrained patients all over the country even after the pandemic is over.”

Pacific Care clinical director Janic Allan said: “We are currently carrying out staff tests weekly and the process can be arduous, since we are dependent on scheduling of deliveries and collections, packaging and labelling – this is all valuable time away from resident care. For Pacific Care a mobile testing centre could streamline this process, and when antibody screening is available it will be a helpful diagnostic tool to enable us to test our staff and prepare in case there is a second wave in the winter.”

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