Extra 1000 Covid-19 tests per day in North-east thanks to University, NHS and partner collaboration

An extra 1000 Covid-19 tests will be carried out every day in North-east Scotland thanks to a partnership between NHS Grampian, the University of Aberdeen and other key partners.

The NHS Scotland Genetics Consortium Laboratory, based in the University of Aberdeen Medical School, has been boosted by the loan of equipment from the University and associated companies and research institutes.

The move will provide significant additional SARS CoV-2 testing capacity and contingency to the existing NHS Grampian Virology department service.

From the start of lockdown, the University of Aberdeen arranged to lend NHS Grampian high value equipment for running the Covid-19 antigen test.

University staff have also volunteered to help with the testing and the University has generously donated their time to the NHS.

The University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute, the Moredun Institute and the Aberdeen Marine Laboratory have also loaned equipment.

Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka, University lead and Medical Genetics Service Clinical Director said: “We are enormously grateful to the genetics, virology and university staff, and the procurement and management teams of National Services Scotland, as well as the equipment and reagent supply companies who have worked well in excess of their normal hours to get this additional testing up and running to support the fight against Covid-19.

“The additional capacity will be essential as Scotland moves to the “test, trace, isolate and support” programme recently announced by the First Minister.”

Caroline Clark, Consultant Clinical Scientist, Head of North East Scotland Genetics and Molecular Pathology Laboratory Services at NHS Grampian who headed the setup of COVID testing said: “We are delighted to be able to provide much needed additional SARS CoV-2 testing capacity to NHS Grampian.

“Implementation of this service been achieved in a very short timescale due to the generous help we have received from our university colleagues in combination with the expertise and dedication of staff in the Genetics Laboratory. This highlights the benefits of close partnership working and further strengthens the long-standing relationship between the two organisations.

Professor Paul Fowler, Director of the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences, added: “The University has always valued its excellent working relationship with NHS Grampian and we are delighted to be able to help with the effort during these difficult times.

“We’d also like to thank all our wonderful University staff who so kindly volunteered to work with NHS Grampian.”