Flu test that can diagnose patients in 20 minutes could save the NHS £24million and reduce bed-blocking

A NEW test that can diagnose flu in 20 minutes could save the NHS £24million a year across England, experts say.

A throat swab analysed on an on-site computer can detect 43 strains of the virus and help A&E staff decide how to process and treat sufferers.

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The throat swab can detect 43 strains of the virus and help A&E staff decide how to process and treat sufferers[/caption]

Medics previously had to wait several days for results to come through — meaning patients often took up valuable bed space unnecessarily when put into isolation.

Now, those infected can be isolated, while others may be sent home.

Trials of the cobas Liat test at two hospital trusts in Norfolk and London found it can reduce admissions and bed blocking.

Berenice Constable, from Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This has had a big impact on improving timely treatment for patients and helped to ensure that beds are not closed unnecessarily.”

Flu hits up to one in ten adults and one in three children every year.
The virus was behind a record 520,163 emergency hospital admissions last December. But a delay in ordering vaccines has led to shortages this winter.

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