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COVID-19 Update


The Exeter Genomics Laboratory now works in a partnership with the Bristol Genetics Laboratory as the South West Genomic Laboratory Hub (SW GLH), the designated NHS provider of genomic laboratory services in the SW of England.

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the SW GLH has made some important changes to genomic laboratory services in accordance with national recommendations from NHSE:

Genomic diagnostic services will now be prioritized for rare disease and cancer patients with urgent clinical need (see appendix below).

For high priority indications, the SW GLH aims to maintain the current diagnostic service and turn-around times.

For medium and low priority indications, clinicians are invited to first consider whether genomic testing is necessary at this time. For necessary tests, please send clinical samples and completed request forms to the SW GLH as per normal practice. All samples will be processed to ensure that diagnostic material can be stored safely. However, for medium and low priority indications, the SW GLH can no longer guarantee current turnaround times for genomic analysis.

The SWGLH recognises that specific clinical circumstances may require genetic tests to be performed irrespective of the general priority guidance. Please let us know by contacting the Bristol Genetics Laboratory (Nbn-tr.geneticsenquiries@nhs.net or 0117 414 6168) or the Exeter Genomics Laboratory (rde-tr.MolecularGeneticsAdmin@nhs.net or 01392 408229). More information about the services offered by the SWGLH is at https://www.nbt.nhs.uk/south-west-genomic-laboratory-hub.

Samples from terminally ill patients should continue to be taken, the DNA extracted & stored.

We are able to accept patient samples with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection.

The SW GLH will continue its development programme of improving genomic testing with initiatives such as extended somatic panel testing for solid tumours and whole genome sequencing for some cancers and rare diseases. Because of the COVID19 emergency, we anticipate launch of these new services later than initially planned.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sian Ellard
SW GLH Scientific Director

Professor Rachel Butler
SW GLH Operations Director

Professor Andrew Mumford
SW GLH Medical Director


Appendix: Priorities for genetic testing during COVID-19 emergency

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