18 October 2021

Professor Mike Osborn, President, The Royal College of Pathologists said:

`Stand-alone virus testing laboratories were rapidly created and deployed to manage large scale testing for SARS-CoV-2 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These facilities were set up to test at high volume to ramp up national capacity to massive scale at speed.

The College has previously recommended that independent laboratories should ensure that clinical and accredited scientific leadership is an essential component of all diagnostic testing services, expansion of testing is ideally achieved in partnership with accredited pathology services and that quality standards should apply across all diagnostic services including stand-alone laboratories, including participation in recognised External Quality Assurance processes to ensure a high quality service.  

Our understanding is that the inaccurate PCR test results from a private laboratory in Wolverhampton are due to an isolated incident. There is no evidence of problems or issues with the PCR testing kits. The PCR test remains the gold standard to test for COVID-19 and people should continue to use them following a positive lateral flow test to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19.’

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