First regional COVID-19 testing hub goes live

NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) has helped support the go live in Glasgow of the first of three new regional laboratory hubs. These hubs will help provide a sustainable approach to COVID-19 testing in Scotland.

Initially delivering 6,000 tests each day, the Glasgow hub is located at Gartnavel Hospital on a site previously occupied by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (part of NSS).

Known as Regional Hub – West, the site will be staffed by around 60 people using four Thermofisher Scientific Amplitude testing systems, which are among the first of their kind in Europe.

The Amplitude systems can analyse up to 3,000 samples in a 12-hour shift using a highly automated molecular diagnostic system.

The other two remaining laboratory hubs will also be based at sites previously occupied by SNBTS. One is at Lauriston Place, Edinburgh and the other is at Foresterhill, Aberdeen. The hubs will be managed by the three local health boards – NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lothian and NHS Grampian.

Mary Morgan, NSS Director responsible for leading the programme of work to help increase testing capacity, commented, “This is an important milestone in helping to increase laboratory testing capacity in Scotland. Colleagues from across NSS and the clinical teams within the host health boards have worked at pace to ensure IT systems, the fit-out, equipment and staff are all in place within a short period of time. This has been a tremendous team effort and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved.”

As part of the overall programme for NHSScotland, NSS is fully supporting with the fit-out, equipping, procurement, recruitment, programme management and IT. Health Facilities Scotland (part of NSS) is currently leading on the physical establishment of the labs within the sites and is working closely with local health board clinical teams from the three health boards involved.

When fully operational the three hubs will provide a 24/7 service, which will further increase testing capacity in Scotland by around 22,000 per day.

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