ESHT (East Sussex Healthcare Trust) announced last Thursday that they are now operating new Covid testing machines, which should significantly increase Covid testing capacity and speed up the turnaround time for test results at the Conquest and Eastbourne District General hospitals.

PICTURE: East Sussex Hospitals Trust

The new machine, called a PerkinElmer, has the potential to undertake around 500 nose-and-throat swabs tests a day. A low volume rapid turn-around testing machine is also now operational, providing single test results round-the-clock in under an hour.

Until recently the hospital’s existing in-house technology was able to screen only a maximum of 40 Covid samples a day with the remaining tests having to be sent to a laboratory in Southampton, which led to delays of up to 48 hours before results were known. 

Dr Joel Newman, Laboratory Director, and Clinical Lead for the Sussex Pathology Network, said: “These are game changers for the Trust. With a quicker diagnosis, we know which wards our patients need to go to, so we can provide the best care for them in the right place. Our turnaround times will be within 24 hours for all swabs, faster for new admissions. This will help us minimise the opportunity to spread Covid on to other people and allows us to contain it.”

Correction: Getting the Name Right

In our report:s New Covid Test Machine ‘Game-Changers’ in HIP 168, we referred to a test machine installed at the Conquest and Eastbourne hospitals as a “PerkinElmer”. We have been asked by the suppliers Perkin Elmer Limited, a global diagnostics company based in Massachusetts, USA, to point out that they make many machines, including the Chemagic 360 RNA extractor and the Janus G3 liquid handling robot which were described and pictured. 

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