The NHS Tayside virology lab team, based at Ninewells Hospital, has processed 141,695 COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic.
When COVID-19 testing was introduced in Tayside on 12 March 2020, the numbers of samples the team could process on a daily basis was 40. By May this had increased to 700 per day thanks to a new state-of-the-art analyser from South Korea which reduced the time taken from sampling to testing by roughly half.
Ninewells was the third laboratory in Scotland to begin providing diagnostic testing for COVID-19, along with labs in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team of 13 highly trained technical staff quickly adapted and changed from its normal working pattern to a new seven-day testing service to meet the rising demand for coronavirus tests in Tayside.
This allowed NHS Tayside to become the first Health Board in the country to test health and social care staff and their household contacts, as well as other key workers. Over 34,000 staff samples have been tested by the virology laboratory so far.
Chris Hind, Clinical Laboratory Manager, Access Laboratories, said, “None of this work would have been possible if it wasn’t for our team of dedicated and flexible biomedical scientists, the return of recently retired staff and the co-operation of colleagues from across NHS Tayside.
“Our lab team, along with the staff and patient testing teams, helped to ensure frontline services were protected and maintained as much as possible.
“I am extremely proud of the virology team and I would like to thank them all for their dedication to testing the people of Tayside.”