News

First regional hub laboratory goes live

Published: 15 Dec 2020 09:30

Care home staff tests to be prioritised with cutting edge diagnostic equipment.

The first of three regional hub laboratories set up to increase Scotland’s testing capacity has opened in Glasgow today.

The Glasgow (West) hub laboratory is located at Gartnavel Hospital on a site formerly occupied by the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, and will be managed by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

This site will be staffed by around 60 people with initial capacity to process 6,000 tests a day, 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.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman visited the Glasgow site on Saturday ahead of the go-live date to meet with and thank the staff involved for their efforts.

Establishment of the three hubs is being led by National Services Scotland (NSS), and the remaining sites at Foresterhill in Aberdeen (North) and Lauriston Place in Edinburgh (East) are on track to open in the coming weeks.

Ms Freeman said:

“I am very pleased to announce the opening the first of our three regional laboratory hubs, which will provide a 24/7 testing service, and significantly increase Scotland’s testing capacity by around 22,000 per day once all three are fully operational.

“These hubs will prioritise care home staff testing in the first instance with the additional capacity they provide, as well as supporting health boards to manage winter demand.

“The establishment of this hub has been an exceptional project in terms of the rapid recruitment and training of new laboratory staff, and the complexity of equipment involved, and I want to recognise our local partners NSS and NHSGGC for delivering this within a very short timeframe.

“Scotland’s Test & Protect programme has a critical role to play in supressing the virus, and I’m grateful to all of those involved at every level for their continued hard work.”

Mary Morgan, NSS Deputy Chief Executive said:

“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.”