Microbiology service changes September 2021

The microbiology departments at UHSussex NHS Trust are working under extreme pressure – delivering the significant number of Covid-19 PCR and rapid testing samples and increasing restoration activity.

The current levels of activity are extremely challenging against the backdrop of staff vacancies (there is a national shortage of professionally qualified staff in microbiology), isolations and quarantines.

The departments have explored ways of reducing pressure on our services and with executive agreement request users support the following measures:

  • Please consider whether it is absolutely essential to submit the sample. For example:
    • Is this an unnecessary repeat?
    • Has a leucocyte & nitrite dip test been done on all urines before deciding whether to submit for M, C&S testing?
    • Do not send MSU’s for testing on asymptomatic patients.
    • Is an HVS swab necessary to confirm Candida spp?
  • Our expected turnaround for routine serology services will increase by up to five days.
  • Routine (non-covid) molecular tests will only be performed Monday – Friday.
  • Mycobacteria identification will only be performed weekly.
  • All other turnaround times for non–urgent tests will increase by 24 hours.
  • The laboratory will cease processing routine mycology samples (e.g. toenails) until further notice. We will not issue a report to say these have been rejected.

Please avoid telephoning the laboratory for results until the new turnaround time has passed and ICE has been checked. Ensure request forms are fully & legibly completed and samples adequately labelled to avoid time spent rejecting samples and requesting repeats.

All these changes will be subject to monthly review.

The microbiology team are very grateful for all your support at this challenging time.