25 May 2021
by R. Biss, V. Biggart, A. Dawnay, J. Lake

Providing POCT Services at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London

R. Biss, V. Biggart, J. Lake and A. Dawnay

Providing POCT Services at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London

R. Biss, V. Biggart, J. Lake and A. Dawnay
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK.

In March 2020, the NHS Nightingale Hospital London was set-up by NHS England, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide critical care for up to 4000 patients. Barts Health was asked to provide pathology services and to support point of care testing (POCT).

A newly assembled POCT team (the authors) had just five days to ensure POCT services were ready for the admission of the first patients. NHS England ordered the following POCT devices for the hospital: 6 Radiometer ABL800 blood gas analysers, 200 Abbot iSTAT Alinity devices (CG4+/Chem8+ cartridges) and 14 Nova StatStrip glucose meters.

Installation and verification of two ABL800s was prioritised, to ensure the hospital was ready to admit the first 6 patients. Subsequent devices were then verified to increase the capacity and resilience of the service. Abbreviated verification procedures were developed in order to meet the short time-frame and POCT staff were on site daily to perform device maintenance and give ‘ad hoc’ training.

User training was incorporated into Nightingale induction training. Initially, 35-40 staff members were trained each day, in 10-15 minute sessions, with the aim to scale up to training 100 staff per day. Providing training was challenging due to limited time and large numbers of staff with varied POCT experience. To supplement induction training, one-page user guides were designed and placed on the ward and additional training, in a mock ward setting, was later added.

Providing POCT services at the Nightingale was very challenging but was successfully achieved by working collaboratively and adapting to the ever-changing situation. The experience highlighted the importance of pathology involvement in all stages of POCT procurement and implementation as well as the importance of training and good communication between all stake holders.

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Authors

R. Biss

Trainee Clinical Scientist, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Barts Health NHS Trust, London

V. Biggart

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Barts Health NHS Trust, London

A. Dawnay

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Barts Health NHS Trust, London

J. Lake

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Barts Health NHS Trust, London