Point-of-care analysers help to keep vulnerable patients safer in Cornwall

HORIBA UK, Medical has announced that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) in partnership with the Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust has recently purchased and installed five new Microsemi CRP point-of-care (POC) haematology analysers.

The installation of these POC analysers – delivering full blood count plus C-reactive protein (CRP) results – across Cornwall is enabling patients to have pathology tests performed locally by clinical staff in acute and community settings, rather than visiting the main Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. This not only relieves pressure on the main hospital, but also enables patients to be treated in the community, closer to home, where possible.

Originally the installations were planned to improve patient experience and access to pathology testing across the winter, and to aid the diagnosis of a wide range of conditions including influenza. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the Microsemi CRP install was expedited. HORIBA Medical responded rapidly to the trusts’ order following a successful validation study of its POC analyser with main laboratory haematology samples. An HORIBA team of two then ensured installation and staff training within just two days during ‘lockdown’.

“Our focus on using new POC testing such as HORIBA’s Microsemi CRP haematology analysers is supporting the population across Cornwall with a new way of triaging patients to help keep them out of hospital and A&E unless truly necessary,” said Lisa Vipond (Lead Biomedical Scientist, Clinical Chemistry & POCT, RCHT). “It is also helping to get many patients home sooner from hospitals where they previously had to wait for main laboratory results. All these factors are supporting patient safety, especially those who are particularly vulnerable to any infection.”

Microsemi CRP analysers are now located in Bodmin and Camborne Redruth Community Hospitals, with another planned soon for St Austell. Unnecessary trips to hospital can be prevented as patients are tested close to home, providing GPs and community clinicians with immediate results so they can best manage treatment. This is enabling different patient pathways using community hospitals and minor injuries units for people who still need monitoring and support, but not urgent care. It is also keeping vulnerable patients, such as the elderly, away from risk in the main hospital while being reassured by test results that they are receiving appropriate care.

As Lisa Vipond explained: “We were looking for a very specific POC haematology solution which was easy to use by non-laboratory personnel, quick at producing results and with minimal maintenance. The availability of full blood count with CRP in a POC analyser was a real winner as our clinical teams value CRP as a quick indicator of the best patient pathway, and what to look for next.”