Somerset Figures compromised

Today’s Scrutiny meeting at Somerset County Council saw an admission from Public Health Director Trudio Grant. She noted that a machine in Musgrove testing for COVID 19 cases had resulted in a high number of “false positives”.

In other words a spike in COVID 19 cases was apparent from test results, but in fact those tested did not have the virus. This gave the impression of a spike in numbers of cases that was not the true picture.

A statement issued today by Dr Daniel Meron, Chief Medical Officer for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust gives more details: “The NHS is testing patients for COVID-19 when they are first admitted into a hospital as inpatients so that we can care for them appropriately and minimise the potential for COVID-19 to spread within healthcare settings. On Thursday 4 June one of our vigilant laboratory managers noticed an unusual increase in the number of positive test results for patients at Musgrove Park Hospital recorded by one of the laboratory’s machines and we moved quickly to retest those swabs on a second machine. This showed that the analyser had reported some false positive results.

We are now in the process of contacting all those patients who were diagnosed as having coronavirus after their swabs were analysed in the faulty machine to explain to them what has happened and that it is possible they may have been incorrectly diagnosed, to understand the impact this may have had on them, to offer them subsequent testing and to say how sorry we are.

We are contacting everyone who is affected so please do not worry if you do not hear from us. Please continue to follow the advice you receive from your healthcare professional and the national advice to minimise the spread of COVID-19.”

One comment

  • Were these errant tests from the privatised Pathology Services rather than the lab on the hospital?

    South West Pathology Services (SPS):

    Southwest Pathology Services is a joint venture between Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and private sector partner – Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP) who are run by LABCO and Sodexho. The joint venture was established in June 2012, serving a population of 500,000 and over 100 GP practices.

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