Hospital at forefront of quicker screening

IPSWICH: Results of important safety checks for pregnant women are today available quicker than ever thanks to an extension of the screening service at Ipswich Hospital.

The hospital’s pathology laboratory is to carry out an extra 12,000 antenatal tests every year as part of a new and improved service for all pregnant women in the county.

The antenatal tests are carried out in the hospital’s laboratory when women are approximately ten weeks pregnant and check for infectious diseases including HIV and Hepatitis B (viruses carried in the blood) as well as other diseases that can affect the health of the mother or baby such as rubella and syphilis.

The new service means fewer samples need to be taken from women and their midwife can access all of the results in one place. The results now take no more than five days to come back, where previously they took up to ten.

Andrew Bendall, a chief biomedical scientist in microbiology at the hospital, said: “Screening pregnant women is important for reassurance of the mothers and where abnormal results are found the midwife can then help to plan the care for the mother and baby.

“We provide a very accessible service, with midwives being able to access all results quickly and easily.”

The antenatal screening service, previously run by the National Blood Service, means the hospital will deal with an extra 9,000 samples per year – each subject to multiple tests.

Most Read

n Have you achieved something special at work? Tell us about your achievements. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail