Trusts launch COVID-19 testing in own labs
Integrated Pathology Solutions, the joint venture between Airedale, Bradford and Harrogate Hospitals Trusts, has now launched in house testing for patients and staff with suspected Covid-19 so they can get a rapid diagnosis and the expert care they need.
The lab did this in record time despite having to entirely build the testing capability from the beginning, and in the first week has already processed over 700 tests.
Testing of patients with suspected COVID-19 has been at the forefront of the national response to the epidemic. Whilst testing was initially delivered by specialist Public Health England laboratories, the pathology teams quickly recognised that on-site testing and a faster results were needed as case numbers increased.
Work began in mid-March as the pathology teams began sourcing the equipment and kits that could provide the testing and then verifying their accuracy and effectiveness. Expert staff were then identified and individuals also volunteered from the different areas of Pathology to be trained on the new equipment to ensure the laboratory had sufficient trained staff to deliver and maintain the vital service.
Afruj Ruf, Managing Director of Integrated Pathology Solutions says:
“I am very proud of the work done to be able to offer this vital service for our patients, so they can get a fast result and diagnosis. The feat of procuring, verifying and delivering a COVID-19 testing service within one month is quite remarkable and is down to the hard-work and dedication of our team; they have really risen to the challenge in providing this most essential of services. Other labs already had equipment in place to start testing; our lab has built the whole service in a matter of weeks.”
Patient testing began on-site on 14 April and the lab now also receives staff tests for rapid turnaround to help them return to work as soon as they can. The lab is training more staff and working towards a 24/7 service to allow for testing of patients from the community, pre-screening for essential cancer services and discharge of patients to social care.