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NHS Fife Microbiologists Receive Award for 30 Minute Flu Test

Fife microbiologists have been recognised with a prestigious award after cutting the wait to diagnose flu from 24 hours to 30 minutes.

The NHS Fife team scooped the Scottish Government’s Award for Driving Improvement, Delivering Results at the Advancing Healthcare Awards.

Health board chief executive Paul Hawkins said: “This winter was especially challenging, with a spike in respiratory illnesses coupled with particularly difficult weather conditions.

“The successful implementation of the rapid flu system allowed us to initiate effective treatment quickly and improved the care we could provide at the time when demand for our services was at its height.

“Over the course of recent months our microbiology service has consistently stepped up to the plate, going above and beyond to ensure that vital services could continue, and the standards of care maintained.

“They are truly a credit to the organisation and I can think of no more deserving recipients of such an award.”

Confirming a diagnosis of flu generally takes up to 24 hours from the point where a patient is initially tested in hospital.

With the pressures on services at their peak, the board’s microbiology service was tasked with speeding up the process of identifying those patients with the flu virus. Within a matter of days, the microbiology service implemented a rapid flu testing system and had trained staff in how to use it.

This meant nursing staff could confirm whether a patient was positive for flu within 30 minutes, ensuring prompt and appropriate treatment while also preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.

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