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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Coronavirus: Infected NHS staff given wrong results after testing

NHS staff have been given the wrong coronavirus test results because of a "transcribing" blunder.

According to reports, eight healthcare staff in Wales' Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, and two from elsewhere in the country, received incorrect results.

NHS staff who had coronavirus were reportedly given the wrong results after testing (Credit: Nils Jorgensen/Cover Images)

Read more: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson sees 'fever ease' in intensive care amid hopes he is over worst of illness

It happened when 10 samples from a batch of 96 tests were reportedly attributed to other patients.

Rectified with 'a few hours'

According to Public Health Wales (PHW), some who tested positive for COVID-19 heard they didn't have the deadly bug, and vice versa.

But workers rectified the mistake within a "a few hours" and the blunder caused no harm.

It follows a pledge from the government to ramp up coronavirus testing for NHS staff (Credit: Splash News /

They have not revealed number of those in the group who had COVID-19.

A PHW spokesperson said, as reported by the BBC: "Since March 14 we have undertaken circa 1,600 staff tests. As part of our checking process, we identified a local transcribing issue with eight test results that led to us giving staff members wrong results.

"Staff were contacted immediately and the health board has undertaken a detailed review of all staff tests and taken action to remove any further risk of transcribing errors."

We identified a local transcribing issue.

Speaking further, the spokesperson said they mistakenly attributed 10 samples to the incorrect individuals. It occurred during the process of implementing a new COVID-19 testing platform in its labs.

"Quality checking processes" helped them quickly identify the error, they said.

They went on to say the body was "continually reviewing" its systems and processes. It would make sure a similar incident would not happen again.

'Complete confidence' in the testing process

The spokesperson added: "We continue to have complete confidence in the testing process, and the laboratory staff carrying out the testing procedures."

It follows a pledge from the UK government last week to ramp up coronavirus testing for NHS staff, following fierce criticism.

Read more: Mayor forced to apologise for Boris Johnson 'deserves this' coronavirus comment

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a clip shared on Twitter: "We're also massively increasing testing. I want to say a special word about testing because it is so important.

The PM continued in the video, posted before he was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus: "As I have said for weeks and weeks, this is the way through. This is how we will unlock the coronavirus puzzle. This is how we will defeat it, in the end."

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