IBMS response to BBC report
Earlier today the BBC reported that hospitals are being urged to use "spare laboratory space" to test self-isolating NHS staff for COVID-19.
IBMS President Allan Wilson has commented in response:
“It has been reported that hospitals have been urged to use 'spare laboratory space' to test NHS staff. Anybody who has spent any time in a functioning healthcare laboratory knows that these are busy and often confined spaces with lots of precision tasks occurring and sensitive machinery operating. There is not the space or functionality to conduct sample collecting – which is perhaps being confused with testing in this report.
Direct viral detection testing can only be conducted in a laboratory and involves multiple stages of highly skilled work so the real issue is about prioritising NHS worker tests in the workstream and creating new sample collecting spaces - which should be separate from acute hospitals to minimise transmission of the virus. Furthermore, until appropriate PPE is in place in 100% of laboratories it would be a huge oversight in the UK’s fight against COVID-19 to risk the health of the biomedical scientists and laboratory staff who are doing the essential molecular testing.”
This statement has been circulated widely to all major outlets.