ACB reacts to BBC Panorama – ‘Undercover - Inside the Covid Testing Lab’

Statement on BBC Panorama – ‘Undercover - Inside the Covid Testing Lab’ broadcast on Monday 29th March 2021, 7.30 pm BBC1 

By Professor Neil Anderson, President of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry & Laboratory Medicine (ACB) 

The ACB is a world leading professional membership organisation dedicated to the practice and promotion of the highest standards in laboratory testing and patient care. 

The practices exposed by BBC Panorama ‘Undercover - Inside the Covid Testing Lab' on Monday 29th March point to a lack of leadership and professional rigour which falls well below the standards that patients and the young hardworking scientists in this laboratory should expect. 

The majority of ACB members work in the NHS which relies on a workforce of qualified, registered, and regulated scientists who take the utmost care when processing patient samples. Healthcare Scientists take pride in their work and ensure that the highest quality and safety standards are met when processing patient specimens for COVID and other conditions. Molecular tests such as PCR require strict adherence to protocols, specialist training and ongoing quality assurance (including environmental monitoring) to reduce the risk of contamination. UK diagnostic laboratories are accredited and inspected to ensure that high quality standards are met and maintained. Ensuring that the correct result is obtained in a timely manner is the paramount concern of those working in diagnostic laboratories. Every specimen represents a patient, and every patient matters.   

NHS Pathology laboratories are subject to rigorous accreditation, professional standards and ongoing quality assurance, in order to give confidence to Patients regarding the standard of care in our laboratories. In this case we would particularly welcome the views of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) regarding the practices exposed in the programme. 

For further information please contact:  [email protected]

Click here to view the full programme on BBC iPlayer.