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Covid-19 swab transit - RHC Standard Operating Procedure

What's New

03/08/2021 Changes to section 1.2(i) Process & 1.2(iii) Samples sent by Taxi/Courier - change to timings

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic it is now necessary to ensure that any child that is displaying potential signs and symptoms of Covid19 and requires admission to Royal Hospital for Children as well as any child undergoing either elective or emergent surgery is swabbed for Covid-19. This standard operating procedure outlines the process and timescales for this as well as establishing the roles and responsibilities of each staff group to ensure that samples are sent, received and processed by GRI West of Scotland Specialist Virology lab to achieve results within expected timeframe.

There is also a limited availability for POCT (point of care testing) to be carried out for Covid-19 swabs within RHC ED/Theatre. The patients who are eligible for consideration of testing are 1) Patients requiring emergent admission to PICU    2) Consideration of Patient Placement eg 4BB usage/admission to green pathway areas for specialist nursing and medical care.   3) Patients requiring emergency theatre. 4) Patients where immediate result will significantly alter clinical management. Access to testing is via ED Co-Ordinator and requests should be via RHC Duty Manager – call 0141 451 5770 (85770)

1.1 GRI Labs - Classification of priority
  1. Emergent – Requiring result within 2-4hours.
    This would apply to patients requiring admission to PICU to assist with bed placement due to AGP or patients who are clinically deteriorating who may require AGP support such as high flow/CPAP.

  2. Urgent - Requiring result within 6-8hours.
    This would apply to patients who are undergoing emergency surgery as well as patients requiring admission to RHC.

  3. Routine - Requiring result within 24hours.
    This applies to patients who are being admitted electively or patients being routinely tested.
1.2(i) Process

The swab should be taken by healthcare professional in relevant department. ED will swab all children via their department who require admission and meet criteria according to current guidance.

Indication for COVID-19 virus sampling:

Any patient on the red pathway AND requiring admission to hospital (this is not the same as a patient being transferred to CDU for further observation). This should be done in ED prior to admission.

Any patient who is going home but will return the following day for a surgical procedure. This should be done in ED prior to discharge.

Any patient admitted for surgery, regardless of red or green pathway status. This should be done in ED prior to admission if on the red pathway and on the ward after admission if on the green pathway.

Elective admissions and patients undergoing routine testing will be swabbed by the relevant ward/department including pre-assessment as per SOP.

Urgent and guaranteed same day/next morning testing can be accessed as outlined below. The laboratory and associated email service will not be staffed outwith these times.

Weekday SARs CoV-2 PCR / COVID-19 Service Information

Samples requiring a same day result need to be in the WoSSVC by 3 pm. Next morning testing samples by 7pm:

The WoSSVC will continue to offer rapid urgent tests (results reported with 1-3 hours of sample receipt) for a small number of clinical scenarios. The cut off time for such requests will be 6:30pm (see appendix 1).

Same day/next morning/urgent requests should be highlighted to the laboratory via the email address. Please provide the patient name, CHI and reason for the test.

Critically urgent tests required outwith laboratory opening times can be processed via the various hospital based Roche LIAT PCR machines. These are a limited resource and are only available for a small number of clinical scenarios such as Transplant recipients, unplanned pre- operative testing and urgent infection control issues.

Weekend CoV-2 PCR / COVID-19 Service Information

The cut off time for a same day screening test at the weekend is 12pm. To access the next morning service samples will need to be in the WoSSVC prior to 3pm. The cut off time for urgent rapid tests (1-3hrs) at the weekend will be 3:30pm

Same day/next morning/urgent requests should be highlighted to the laboratory via the email address. Please provide the patient name, CHI and reason for the test.

Critically urgent requests required outwith laboratory opening times can be processed via the various hospital based Roche LIAT PCR machines as outlined above.


Weekday (Mon-Fri) cut-off

Weekend (Sat-Sun) cut-off

Same day result

3pm, email lab

12pm, email lab

Next day result

7pm, email lab

3pm, email lab


6.30pm, email lab

3.30pm, email lab

Critically urgent

Don’t call or email, use LIAT

Don’t call or email, use LIAT

1.2(ii) For Emergency Pre-Operative Patients

Please follow above process and email patient details above, including additional information below:

  1. Time of Operation
  2. Ward of Origin
  3. Date/Time of sample being sent
  4. Contact details of SN in requesting ward/area for GRI lab staff to contact if sample not received.
  5. Taxi ref. no. (pageholder 18502 will be able to tell you this when they phone for taxi)

This will allow samples to be sent overnight and the lab staff will prioritise these samples first thing the following morning. It does, however mean that these patients will be unable to be listed first thing on morning theatre lists.

1.2(iii) Samples sent by TAXI/COURIER

All urgent/emergency samples that are being sent by Taxi/Courier should have the reference no. logged on the email to labs as well as quoted by the driver on arrival at GRI New Lister Building (NLB) labs along with stating delivery from RHC.

Mon-Fri  0900-2000 and Sat-Sun 0900-1700 The driver will deliver the swab/s to the 5th floor of the NLB, there are buzzers at the main front door and Wishaw St. entrance which will call staff to either allow driver access or greet driver. After 1700hrs the main front door is closed and the driver should buzz for entry via Wishaw St. Taxi driver should make lab staff aware that the swabs are from RHC and quote his reference no. There is a swab record sheet which will be filled in on arrival by lab staff. Lab staff should give the driver their name which is shared with RHC duty manager for local tracking reference purposes.

Outwith hours above the driver should deliver the swabs to  the black wall mounted Drop Box (pictured below) at security entrance on Wishart Street (open 24hours) Postcode for satellite navigation is G31 2HT.  See below link for map to entrance

Driver should enter under blue canopy. On right hand wall, before the security office is a black box, which is wall mounted, for urgent virology samples.

1.3 Swab Transit

Once the swab has been taken it should be taken by local staff from ward/department to the QEUH lab building 1st Floor where a collection box is labelled for deposit of samples going to GRI.

The times for pickup from QEUH for delivery to GRI are as below:

Monday – Friday    Saturday – Sunday
  1. 09:10
  2. 10:40
  3. 12:10
  4. 14:40
  5. 16:05
  6. 18:00
  1.  10:15
  2.  13:15
  3.  16:15

Non urgent samples from ED only are uplifted locally by portering staff at 10am daily  for routine testing at GRI.

Emergency or Urgent samples outwith transit times above, please contact pageholder 18502 to request Taxi to courier samples to GRI West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre for processing.

1.4 Test Results

Test results will NOT be phoned back to the referring department but will be available for viewing on Clinical Portal/SCI store and will usually be available within 24hours.

For urgent tests results can usually be viewed within 6-12hours of being received by the lab.

For emergency tests results can be available after 2hours depending on volume of POCT emergency tests received by the lab and you should check Clinical Portal/SCI store every 2 hours after test has been received by the lab till result achieved.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 03 August 2021

Next review: 03 August 2022

Version: 9