Covid-19: Changes to SWLP services
This page provide details of all the changes to the services that South West London Pathology (SWLP) offers, in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
All changes to services will be added to this page, so please check the page regularly to confirm which services have been affected.
The only exception is changes to blood transfusion services. Please check what the local guidance is for your site.
The haemogolobinopathy laboratory has reduce its operating hours to three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
All urgent requests outside of these hours should go through St George’s Hospital’s Haemoglobinopathy Clinical Consultants Dr Elizabeth Rhodes or Dr Julia Sikorsa.
There are a number of changes to our immunology services.
Urine protein electrophoresis and faecal alpha-1 antitrypsin
Routine analysis of faecal samples for alpha-1 antitrypsin, or urine samples for protein electrophoresis is not currently being carried out, due to the most recent advice from PHE about the risk of transmission of coronavirus from these samples. Any requests received will be reported with a standard comment explaining why these tests are not being run.
The faecal samples will be stored indefinitely. The urine samples will be discarded after one month, but we will instead analyse serum free light chains where appropriate, if we have serum sample.
If any of these tests are considered essential for a patient’s care, please call the Immunology Consultants on 020 8725 5106 to discuss whether arrangements can be made to analyse a specific sample.
Tau protein (asialotrasferrin) for suspected CSF leak
The Immunology laboratory is unable to analyse samples for Tau protein (asialotrasferrin) for suspected CSF leak if the sample is taken from the respiratory tract, eg nasal leak, unless the patient is confirmed as being Covid-19 negative. Samples taken from other sites, eg ears or surgical wounds, will be analysed.
Restriction in the collection of cryoprotein samples
Collection of cryoprotein samples at St George’s Hospital is being restricted. If you require collection of a cryoprotein sample, please call the Immunology Consultants on 020 8725 5106 to discuss the case first.
Urine microscopy will now only be performed on the following samples:
- children under six years old
- renal transplant patients (where clearly stated on the request)
- nephrostomy urine (where clearly stated on the request).
Due to a global shortage of reagents for molecular testing, the decision to stop its respiratory PCR service, which tests for flus, colds and pneumonia, from the beginning of next week. Requests will be reported with a comment reflecting the cessation of this service.
If a patient tests negative for Covid-19 and you suspect that this patient has a respiratory infection which essential to diagnose please contact the on-call microbiologist via the usual route.
Sexual health and viral PCR
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea NAT testing will now be done three times a week instead of Monday to Saturday.
HIV and hepatitis virus loads will be done twice a week instead of Monday to Friday.
Viral skin PCR (vesicular rash PCR) will be done once a week
Viral eye PCR (for keratoconjunctivitis investigation) will be done once a week.
There is a reduction in the andrology testing service at Croydon Hospital. The service will now only run on a Tuesday and will only accept post-vasectomy samples.
The changes will come into effect on 6 April and will last for four weeks initially.