NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) recently worked in partnership with a charity to secure cutting-edge COVID-19 testing machines for Scotland’s three island NHS boards.
NHS Shetland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles will each receive a BD Max batch-testing machine later this month (October).
Mail Force – a UK-wide charity established by Associated Newspapers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – paid a substantial six-figure sum for the cutting-edge equipment.
The testing machines are in huge demand worldwide but NSS National Procurement colleagues were able to source three for the island boards. The equipment will deliver key benefits for NHS colleagues within the boards, support Scotland’s Test and Protect strategy, and help safeguard our island communities at this critical time.
BD Max machines can batch-test up to 24 samples at a time and deliver results within three hours. Those rapid results will strengthen the islands’ ability to contain clusters and outbreaks within their communities and support the work of our national contact tracing teams.
At present, samples often have to be sent to the mainland for testing and the process can be disrupted by bad weather impacting ferry and plane schedules.
NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “This new machine will become a valuable part of our armoury to detect COVID-19.”
NHS Shetland’s Consultant in Public Health, Dr Susan Laidlaw, highlighted the value of the increased resilience.
Dr Laidlaw said: “Being so far away from the mainland has raised some difficult challenges during the pandemic. Being able to increase our laboratory capacity locally means we can get quicker results, especially for those people at higher risk and when we are managing clusters and outbreaks.”
NHS Orkney’s Director of Public Health, Dr Louise Wilson, echoed the views of her counterpart and added: “Quick turnaround of a Covid-19 test helps our clinicians deliver appropriate care, and, in the case of a positive result, also enables our contact tracing teams to get to work.”
Colin Sinclair, Chief Executive of NHS National Services Scotland, hailed the collaborative effort that secured the machines. He said: “We are delighted that NSS has been able to work in partnership with Mail Force to secure these sought-after COVID-19 testing machines.
“This hugely generous contribution will be warmly welcomed by our colleagues at NHS Shetland, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles.”