Point of care diagnostics must not be overlooked if the NHS is to achieve its goal of becoming the world’s first net zero health service. The majority of the workforce (83%) is already persuaded of the climate benefits of adopting the new technology, according to a survey of 200 GPs in the UK.
“Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service” states that around 14% of NHS emissions relate to patients, visitors, staff and suppliers travelling by road, and reducing unnecessary journeys is one of the interventions considered in the NHS report.
This could be achieved if patients could get a test, result and treatment within one appointment, rather than making up to three journeys: first to a clinical appointment, then to a blood test and back to the clinician once the test results are back from the laboratory.
Rapid point of care diagnostics allow a clinician to assess a patient, perform a test, get results within minutes and start treatment – all in one appointment. For example, patients’ risk of thrombolysis or diabetes can be immediately assessed using lab-comparable tests on the same diagnostic device.
According to the survey, the vast majority of GPs favour community testing, with only 4% choosing the hospital as the preferred location of testing, compared to 46% preferring the GP surgery, 18% a community hub, 15% a patient’s home and 12% the pharmacy.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, General Practitioner and Board member of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Being able to discuss the result directly with the patient is very powerful and already we are reducing the number of journeys to the urgent care centre and the hospital with anticoagulation and D-Dimer testing.”
Dr. Matthew Fay, Medical Director, LumiraDx, said: “Testing, diagnosing and starting treatment in one appointment means a better outcome for the patient and, by cutting unnecessary journeys, a better result for the planet.”