NSW Health Pathology (NSWHP) staff collect blood specimens from patients in hospital inpatient and outpatient areas. Local health district staff are responsible for the collection of blood samples in emergency departments, intensive care units as well as fever clinics and COVID-19 clinics.
To help strengthen ongoing public health measures to minimise the transmission of COVID-19, we are reducing the movement of collection staff between the established COVID-19 wards and other areas. This will help us all safeguard against transmission of COVID-19 from confirmed cases to other patients in our hospitals who do not have the infection.
NSWHP staff will continue to collect blood specimens from patients who do not have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. They will continue to take all appropriate PPE precautions. LHD hospital staff will continue to collect blood specimens in emergency departments and intensive care Units as well as fever clinics and COVID-19 clinics. This will reduce the risk of spreading infection to other patients and ensure we can continue to provide our collections service. This measure is particularly important in smaller hospitals where we have smaller collection teams and also to protect high risk patients such as immunocompromised.
LHD hospital staff should continue to collect blood specimens from patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (who are generally nursed in isolation in specific wards). Nursing and medical staff located on these COVID-19 isolation or quarantine wards and ICU are supplied with and are already wearing appropriate PPE that allows blood collection to be carried out as part of their care for these patients. Adopting this practice will also lead to the more efficient use of PPE.
In the unusual case where NSWHP staff are required to undertake collections from patients with confirmed COVID-19, this must be agreed between the NSWHP Director of Operations and LHD Executive.
Appropriate PPE and change amenities must be provided, and NSWHP staff participating in these collections must comply with all PPE requirements as directed by LHD staff in these facilities and must have been trained in its use.
For more information contact Prof Robert Lindeman, Executive Director Clinical Operations NSW Health Pathology.