Stricter requirements for test centres

Fri, 15. Oct. 2021
Stricter quality requirements should not pose a problem for the test centre located at the old hospital in Saanen. (Photograph: Sonja Wolf)

After an increasing number of quality deficiencies were found in various Corona test centres in recent weeks, the canton's Health, Social and Integration Directorate (GSI) has defined uniform requirements for test providers. The test centre in Saanen is prepared.

Test centres that are not run by a pharmacy, a doctor's practice or a laboratory at one of their sites in the canton of Bern will have to comply with stricter quality requirements as of Monday. In future, compliance will be monitored by the GSI. This also affects the test centre of Destination Gstaad, which was initially operated at the cinema car park and is now located in the old hospital in Saanen.

Stricter quality requirements
According to a press release from the canton of Bern, the test centres are required to provide information on the person in charge, the operating company, the location of the test centre and the laboratory for molecular biological analyses, among other things.

Clarification in progress
For nasal and nasopharyngeal swabs, a doctor or pharmacist will have to be present on site at all times during opening hours. Would this be feasible at the test centre in Saanen with its opening hours from Monday to Saturday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.?

Patrick Baumberger from the operating company YAI-POC informed: "We are still clarifying with the GSI whether the person in charge has to be physically present at the centre during the entire opening hours or whether an on-call service is sufficient." With the distances in the region being fairly short, a doctor or pharmacist could be present within a few minutes, which should meet the criterion, according to Baumberger.

"Swabs are only taken by trained and qualified medical personnel anyway, namely medical students, nursing specialists, medical practice assistants or even retired doctors and nursing specialists. Problems are therefore hardly to be expected. In addition, we are in close exchange with the Dr Kropf pharmacy."

Future of the test centre
All the details of the test centres in the canton will be checked by the GSI and from next week the new licences will be issued. Baumberger has no concerns for the test centre in Saanen thanks to the high quality standards already in place.

The test centre will therefore only be closed when the pandemic is declared over by the federal government or when there is no demand from the population. In close cooperation with the municipality of Saanen, an assessment is carried out on a regular basis. According to Baumberger, about 150 to 200 tests per day were carried out since the centre was established. Since the tests are no longer covered by the federal government, it is about 80 to 100 per day. "Should it drop below 50 tests per day, we would not be able to maintain the operation of three hours over six days, but we would still continue with shorter opening hours, fewer days or reduced staff. In any case, it is our concern to provide the service at the usual quality standard for as long as it is necessary."

Based on AvS/Sonja Wolf

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