New state-of-the-art pathology testing machines for FNQ

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Dr Azhar Munas and Deb Moffat in front of one of the new biochemical analysers.

Dr Azhar Munas and Deb Moffat in front of one of the new biochemical analysers.

Cairns Hospital’s Pathology Queensland laboratory staff are thrilled with their new state-of-the-art biochemical analysers that test patients’ blood in half the time.

Pathology Queensland has invested in two new Seimens Atellica Biochemistry Analysers at the Cairns Hospital Laboratory. The machines are part of a statewide upgrade across Pathology Queensland.

Chemistry Supervising Scientist Deb Moffat said the new machine only took 15 minutes to run a complete chemistry screen (Chem 20), this is significantly faster than the superseded analysers.

‘The Chem 20 screen tells us about patient’s glucose or blood sugar levels, kidney and liver function, sodium and potassium levels and more,’ said Ms Moffat.

‘The results provide an overall picture of a patient’s chemical balance and metabolism.

‘Previously our machine tests took 30 minutes, needed more blood taken, used twice the amount of reagent, and could only do four tests at a time. This machine can test up to 50 tests at once.’

Acting Director of Pathology and haematologist Dr Azhar Munas said this machine freed staff up from processing blood test results.

‘Most importantly it will mean that our patients and doctors will have the results more quickly,’ Dr Munas said.

‘The machine is fully scalable and will allow us to expand into offering more types of tests in Cairns.

‘It can increase capacity with our growing population.’

Preparing for the machines took a lot of planning, said Dr Munas.

‘The huge machines came to Cairns in sections and took hardware and software teams four weeks to assemble and test,’ he said.

‘The pathology scientists ran thousands of tests before we were sure the machines were ready to use.’

‘The machines are extremely heavy, so we had to ensure we had the structural integrity to house them; we had to reconfigure the air conditioning as they generate a lot of heat; and we needed an uninterrupted power source.’

Cairns Hospital’s Pathology Queensland Laboratory services patients from Tully to the Torres Strait, and west to Normanton. The lab also supports smaller laboratories in Atherton, Innisfail, and Thursday Island.

*Atellica machine: