Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has brought in new technology that tests patients arriving with respiratory problems for the flu virus.
Patients arriving at the acute medical unit at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the assessment treatment centre at Bassetlaw Hospital showing flu-like symptoms will have a simple throat swab.
“Knowing in minutes rather than days which patients do and don’t have flu means we can use the isolation rooms as efficiently as possible”
The new technology, called Alere-i, then provides the results in minutes rather than the two days the previous test can take.
The trust noted that being able to diagnose the virus quickly was vital to limit the spread of the infection and for staff to start treatment.
Kate Carville, head of nursing for the trust’s emergency care group, said: “Being able to get a quick diagnosis is excellent so that we start the patient on the right course of treatment immediately.
She added: “Knowing in minutes rather than days which patients do and don’t have flu means we can use the isolation rooms as efficiently as possible through the winter months.”
Alere-i was assessed by the trust’s clinical research team last winter in a clinical trial involving over 200 patients, which took place between 8 December 2014 and 27 March 2015.
Hospital nurses using new quick test for influenza
Two swabs were taken from inside the patient’s throat by the research nurses. One sample was sent for testing to an external laboratory with a two to three day turnaround.
The second swab was tested by the research nurses within the hospital using Alere-i. Results were provided in 10 minutes and confirmed whether the patient had tested positive or negative for flu.
Richard Parker, director of nursing, quality and midwifery, said of the trial: “Running the clinical trial last winter is already helping to reduce the spread of infection and protect our patients and staff this winter.”
However, he also urged both staff and eligible patients to have the flu vaccination.