Content originally from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust
In early March, NHS England announced the ramping up of testing in NHS laboratories to reduce the pressure being felt within the PHE test centres. In response to this our microbiology team based at Broomfield hospital have established a Trust-wide COVID-19 test centre which is supported by a call centre to handle COVID-19 enquiries, swab allocation and any other general queries.
The new test means emergency patients are now tested as soon as we decide to admit them to hospital if their stay is expected to be 24 hours or longer. Having the centre means the turnaround times of results have reduced by approximately 48 hours. This has helped with improving the patient flow across the hospitals, allowing better use of the wards, and is already leading to earlier discharges, as patients and their clinical team get their test results more quickly.
Our microbiology and pathology teams, supported by admin and IT colleagues, have worked incredibly hard to develop, validate and roll out the testing process in less than 10 weeks; a fantastic achievement.