The Impact of COVID-19

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Following recent guidance from NHS England on the provision of genomic services at this time, we would like to update you of our current plans during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Genomic services are currently operating as normal and both routine and urgent testing is taking place. However, pressures on service remain as COVID levels change and as access to consumables and plastic ware is affected by demand and the impact of Brexit.

If the service is significantly impacted by any of these, then urgent samples will be prioritised in line with the guidance below. If this occurs users will be notified.

Urgent services will be prioritised and have been define by NHS England as all tests for:

  • Pregnant women undergoing prenatal diagnosis; including diagnostic assays to clarify the results of screening tests, for the common aneuploidies; Trisomies 13, 18, and 21;
  • Patients needing urgent advice on carrier testing relating to pregnancy. Examples include cystic fibrosis, thalassaemia;
  • Those faced with abnormal fetal scans; critically ill neonates and children requiring assessment, including microarray, and those for whom the rapid PICU/NICU WES is appropriate;
  • Conditions where rapid genetic testing may alter clinical treatment or decision making; and
  • Patients requiring urgent testing (e.g. BRCA testing) to inform chemotherapy options.

We ask that service users do not send samples from known or suspected COVID-19 patients unless they satisfy the criteria of urgent tests. Please contact the laboratory before sending any such samples as testing will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please be aware we are unable to accept saliva/buccal samples at this time.