This week marked two years of operation for Northern Pathology Victoria (NPV), celebrating becoming a well-established laboratory that has so far processed over 124,389 COVID-19 tests.
“I am very proud of the success NPV has had over the last two years in becoming an established laboratory, and especially how we have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said A/Prof. Prahlad Ho, Program Director, Diagnostic Services.
Uttam Punj, Operations Manager at Northern Pathology Victoria, agrees, adding that passing accreditation two years in a row was one of the biggest highlights for the team.
“As Prahlad said, I am also proud of our COVID-19 response, and how we were able to keep up with what is expected by the community, as well as the demands of the hospital. I am pleased to say we have outperformed and achieved what was required of us,” he said.
This year, NPV is looking forward to a new, modern Laboratory Automation Track System, expected to go live in late March. The new system would allow the pathology team to expand their capacity, without having to rely on extra resources.
Dr Frank Hong, Director of Pathology explained this new system is the main project for 2021 and represents a transformational change for the laboratory.
“It will change the way we work – from specimen reception to sample analysis in haematology, coagulation and chemistry, making the lab more efficient and allow us to handle a greater number of samples in the future. This track system means a specimen will travel on a track to get to the instrument to be analysed and then be sent for storage,” he explained.
Reflecting on the pandemic, Dr Hong added that over the last year the team has expanded to be able to process a higher number of samples.
“When the pandemic started, we had great support from Health Information Services (HIS), as well as medical students. After the second wave, we have employed additional staff as part of our long term workforce planning to meet future demand. This allowed us to manage the surge in testing over the new year weekend, when we tested more than 1100 samples per day,” he added.
The NPV team is also proud that more test are now performed in-house, which means our community and patients get the results faster, allowing our medical staff to treat the patients a lot quicker.
“The staff have grown so much as a team, and all 101 staff are working great together. At the moment, we are based in Epping, but looking to expand our services to where ever it’s needed,” Dr Hong added.