NHS England is currently reviewing high-throughput testing capability in close collaboration with our pathology testing laboratories to support access to high throughput testing platforms across each of our 29 pathology laboratory networks.
There are various testing platforms in use throughout the National Health Service and Public Health England (PHE) testing laboratories, including high throughput and lower throughput platforms. This review will enable the NHS to sustainably increase Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing capacity across England.
Nine PHE labs provide diagnostic testing capacity to support pillar 1 of the Government’s testing strategy. The size and nature of the laboratories vary, and they do not all use the same machines. PHE labs have a number of ‘open’ molecular extraction, liquid handling and molecular amplification platforms as well as a number of high throughput end-to-end platforms which are being used to undertake a significant proportion of COVID-19 testing.
There is a sufficient number of platforms to meet the demands on PHE for testing under pillar 1 of the Government’s testing strategy. PHE and NHS laboratories, together with a PHE partnership with Roche, achieved the target for pillar 1 of 25,000 tests a day by the end of April.