Donegal TD claims Covid-19 testing capacity at LUH is being under utilised

One hospital patient waiting 11 days for test results

Hospital testing capacity

Letterkenny University Hospital - Picture: Brian McDaid

It's been claimed that the testing capacity for Covid-19 samples carried out at Letterkenny University Hospital is being under utilised.

Deputy Pearse Doherty said he's aware of a patient at the hospital who has been waiting 11 days for their results. He said the results could have been turned around within a day if they had been processed at the laboratory at LUH.

The Sinn Féin TD said the hospital in Letterkenny has capacity to test between approximately 300-400 Covid-19 samples a day, but this capacity is not being utilised.

Due to the national roll out of the national testing process, samples from patients in Donegal, and elsewhere across the country, are being sent to NVRL & Enfer laboratories in Co. Kildare to be processed centrally, while other tests are still being sent to Germany. Deputy Doherty said this is leading to delays in patients accessing test results.

“Letterkenny University Hospital were processing approximately 300-400 samples per day at the beginning of April, with a 12-hour to 24-hour turnaround," he said.

"Now, the laboratory in Letterkenny University Hospital is only processing samples from patients and staff from within the hospital.”

“From my understanding of the situation, a total of approximately 90 samples are required in order to make it viable to run a testing process.”

“I am aware that because of samples from the elsewhere in the county being sent to Co. Kildare,  this has led to situations where there have not been enough samples in the laboratory in the hospital in a single day to undertake a run of testing, which is leading to delays in providing doctors and patients with results.”

“All of this is happening in the backdrop of national delays which are ongoing. One patient in Donegal who I am aware of has now been waiting 11 days for results that could have be turned around within a day if they were processed in the Letterkenny University Hospital laboratory.”

“My colleague Padraig MacLochlainn TD and I have written to the Minister for Health to bring this situation to his attention and to ask him to review the strategy and to use the sample testing capacity at Letterkenny, and in other regional hospitals, where possible.

"Doctors and their patients need access to speedy results and when we have the capacity to provide this service, it should be used.”

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