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Right Arrow Faster lab tests help save lives and improve the quality of life - PR/39/0405
08 November 2004 at 09:32
The work of the Healthcare Scientists in the clinical laboratory - who analyse biochemical indicators in the body to provide the doctor with a clearer picture of a patient's health - has long been an unseen aspect of health care. Yet clinical lab tests often provide the link between the patient's presentation of symptoms and the doctor's diagnosis of and prescribed treatment for a particular condition or disease.

Through preventative screening, lab tests also aid in the early detection of potentially fatal conditions, and in so doing, lead to early treatment. In short, lab tests can help both to save lives and to improve the quality of life.

At Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust the process of carrying out lab test has been revolutionised in the three months since the installation of new equipment. Turnaround times of tests have been slashed, with routine samples taking a third less time and urgent samples taking over two-thirds less time. Not only has the time taken to process each sample been greatly reduced, but also the number of samples able to be processed per hour has more than doubled from 1,700 to 4,200.

Dr Ian Watson, Consultant Biochemist at the Trust said: “All this as a result of three new analysers from Abbott Diagnostics. They are being used in the clinical biochemistry departments at both Southport & Formby and Ormskirk District General Hospitals, and we are extremely pleased with them. They are exceptionally fast, fully automated and highly efficient – vital in keeping up with our lab’s ever-increasing workload. They use some of the latest technology to ensure more sensitive, reproducible and accurate results in a quicker time. Also, they are more cost effective than the machines they have replaced.”

But what do all these tests actually look for? A new website called Lab Tests Online UK can go a very long way in explaining what they test and what the results will mean. It has been designed to help you, the patient, to better understand the many clinical lab tests that are part of routine care as well as diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of conditions and diseases. The website can be found at

Issued by Matthew King, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

Enquiries to: Matthew King Tel: 01704 704714