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Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
6 October 2020
Last updated:

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Further to yesterday’s Written Statement regarding delays to some 16,000 Lighthouse Lab test results between 25 September and 2 October, Public Health England has confirmed that these results did not relate to Welsh residents and have therefore not impacted Wales either in terms of positive case number reporting or contact tracing.

We closely monitor the flow of test data from Lighthouse Labs and PHW labs, any issues that emerge are dealt with as a priority.  On the 3 October, we received 243 results (positive and negative) that took 4 days to reach us following laboratory processing.  We do not believe this was connected to the wider problem, however, it does underline the need to constantly track the position and to take rapid action to resolve whenever necessary.  My Officials have escalated these matters with DHSC.

I can also confirm that the Lighthouse Lab in Newport is now operational, and expected to step up to full capacity over the coming weeks.  Lighthouse Labs are funded and managed by the UK Government, working in partnership with industry.  The Newport lab is operated by Perkin Elmer, a leading international business.  It will be an important part of our testing infrastructure but I am clear that we will continue to maintain our own NHS Wales testing facilities, which have enabled us to respond to pressures over recent weeks.  A new Public Health Wales lab, supported by Welsh Government will be located next to the Lighthouse Lab in Newport.  This will help to ensure that UK Government and Welsh Government testing facilities work effectively together.  I expect the Public Health Wales lab to be operational by December.

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