Uk news NHS labs go unused as coronavirus tests stuck in outsourcing backlog London news
MetiNews.Com - Ministers were under pressure today to rethink the system of “outsourcing” for processing coronavirus tests as spare capacity in NHS laboratories went unused. The chaos facing people trying to get Covid checks is understood to be a consequence of log-jams in the Lighthouse Laboratories set up by the Government at arms-length from the NHS to process swabs from drive-through and
Breaking News ! ES News email The latest headlines in your inbox twice a day Monday - Friday plus breaking news updates Enter your email address Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid You already have an account. Please log in. Register with your social account or click here to log in I would like to receive lunchtime headlines Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts, by email Update newsletter preferences Ministers were under pressure today to rethink the system of “outsourcing” for processing coronavirus tests as spare capacity in NHS laboratories went unused. The chaos facing people trying to get Covid checks is understood to be a consequence of log-jams in the Lighthouse Laboratories set up by the Government at arms-length from the NHS to process swabs from drive-through and walk-in testing centres. There are seven Lighthouse labs, including in Milton Keynes and Cambridge, and an eighth is due to open at the end of the month near Loughborough. Experts have told the Standard that existing NHS labs, which are only used to process “pillar one” swabs from hospital patients and health and care staff, could be used to process the “pillar two” swabs from the general public. In London, there are two joint ventures that dominate NHS testing — Health Services Laboratories, which works with trusts such as University College London Hospitals, the Royal Free London and London North West Healthcare; and Viapath, which works with Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College hospitals. Read more Ministers defend test chaos amid warning of redundancy 'flood'- LIVE It is unclear what has caused the collapse in capacity at the Lighthouse labs, and the Government has not published figures for the last four days.
Dr Rachael Liebmann, vice-president of the Royal College of Pathologists and group medical director at Health Services Laboratories, said they had warned of a shortage of scientific and medical staff in pathology for years.
She said: “We would like to see all new Covid-19 testing laboratories linked to existing accredited laboratories which already provide NHS healthcare services to hospitals, care homes and GP practices.”
Deenan Pillay, a member of Independent Sage, the rival group of experts to the government scientific committee, said the involvement of the private sector had created a “hotch-potch” system, adding “what we are seeing now is the inability to rapidly change in accordance with events”.
It was revealed at the weekend that 200,000 swabs were having to be sent to Germany and Italy to be processed.
A survey by the Unite union today revealed only 38 per cent of its members said their NHS laboratories were working at full capacity.
The Department of Health said lab capacity continued to increase ahead of winter.
It said a Loughborough site was part of plans to scale up testing capacity to 500,000 swab tests per day by the end October, and would be able to process about 50,000 tests a day by the end of the year.
Source = MetiNews.Com