Response to Channel 4 Dispatches Monday 16th November

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Response to Channel 4 Dispatches Monday 16th November

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The claims made about Randox in the Channel 4/Dispatches documentary ‘Lockdown Chaos: How the Government lost Control’ are underhand, deceptive, dishonest and defamatory and the producers have been notified of the true position.

 

Underhand, deceptive and dishonest behaviour hampers the fight against the pandemic

“This Channel 4 Dispatches “investigation” and use of an undercover reporter grossly misrepresents the facts on the ground and – more importantly – the hard work of all the staff at Randox to expand operations quickly so we can play an important supportive role in the national effort to defeat the pandemic. The journalist was employed for just 10 days in manufacturing and only spent a very limited time in accessioning.  He was not qualified to carry out an “investigation” on quality control measures used in the diagnostics sector. Furthermore, the consultant microbiologist who reviewed the findings of the journalist is a historic opponent of the Pillar 2 testing programme and as such clearly could not provide unbiassed expertise in his review.

“If Dispatches had approached us in an upfront and honest manner with legitimate questions, then we would have worked with them to deliver an accurate and factual programme. This is hatchet job journalism of the worst kind.”

 

Randox wish to state the following:

Randox strongly refute those allegations made regarding Randox’s laboratory operations within the Channel 4 documentary, ‘Lockdown Chaos: How the Government lost Control’, transmitted on 16th November.  Responses to the key allegations are below these more general comments.

Randox wish to state that it is particularly disappointing that Channel 4 and Dispatches appear focussed in portraying a national story of chaos and negativity – without reflecting what has been achieved during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From a standing start, Randox used its extensive experience to develop an innovative assay for Covid-19, built and equipped over 45,000 square feet of specialist molecular laboratories, developed and equipped  a further 50,000 square feet of logistic and technical support space, and mobilised its global supply chains to source equipment and consumables.  Extensive R&D capabilities were also refocussed to support innovation within Covid-19 operations.

Over 750 new staff have been employed.  Randox have invested over £68m of private money in building and resourcing new facilities and have taken testing capacity from 150 molecular assays per day at the end of March 2020 to 80,000 assays per day by early November.  In just over 7 months Randox have reported over 5 million molecular test results to the UK’s Covid-19 National Testing Programme.

There have been significant challenges to face and Randox have committed to the provision of safe, accurate, reliable and timely results at scale, within a culture of continuous process improvement.  As a result Randox often operates efficiently above its committed capacity to the National Testing Programme and meets, or improves upon, the required turnaround times for test results.

Randox, and our staff, do find the use of a covert reporter within our workforce to be disingenuous.  By default that reporter had very limited access, very limited understanding and, it appears, a particularly negative mindset.  Channel 4 could easily have asked for more open access and ensured much more balanced and reputable journalism.

Randox staff are exceptionally dedicated, working to both support and assist those in need of testing, and to optimise processes.  Randox would like to reinforce their thanks and appreciation to all staff who have achieved so much throughout this pandemic.

 

Key Rebuttals:

Allegation: Boxes of samples are unpacked at speed and he (the reporter) was warned there is a recurrent problem of swab samples mistakenly being thrown into the waste with cardboard packaging.

Response: This is a complete misrepresentation; all samples are unpacked for processing and safety checks are carried out on bulk boxes after they have been unpacked.  On the very rare occasion a sample gets accidently caught in the cardboard packaging (estimated 1 in 100,000) it is found and returned to accessioning. There are no recorded cases of samples going to waste.   It is also physically impossible, should there ever be missed samples, for any staff member to ‘get samples all over them’ due to the stringent safety measures of the compactor/baler.  Supervisors do continually stress and can occasionally embellish the importance of due diligence in accessioning, as was evidenced.

Allegation:  Randox accessioning processes run a risk of cross-contamination.

ResponseValid samples are separated from leaked samples, whilst still in leakproof packaging, at the point of accessioning.   Valid samples are wiped down with disinfectant once unpacked; disinfectant is clearly visible on the cloth being used to wipe the tubes, illustrating that tubes are disinfected.  Tubes are then racked in an upright position.  There is no possibility of cross contamination.

 

‘The Expert’

Randox also wish to record their disappointment in the approach undertaken by the ‘expert’ Dr Tom Lewis,  and note the previous stance he has taken on non-NHS laboratories.  Dr Lewis has never operated at the scale or efficiency Randox have achieved, reporting up to 80,000 Covid-19 samples in a single day.  He did not peer review his comments or, noting the inexperience of the undercover reporter (who spent only 4.5 hours in the accessioning area), seek any clarification on processes or procedures from Randox before making his comments.

 

Press enquiries should be emailed to randox@newcenturymedia.co.uk 

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The Five Million Tests Milestone: 8th November 2020

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8TH NOVEMBER: THE 5 MILLION MILESTONE 

We are pleased to let you know that on Sunday 8th November, Randox surpassed 5 million tests within the UK COVID-19 National Testing Programme.

That’s an incredible 5 million samples accessioned, processed and tested by our dedicated and talented staff.

Our staff are our best asset and have risen to the challenge this pandemic has created.

They have worked hard and flexibly, been creative and innovative, and pulled together as a team to make an impact in the fight against COVID-19.

We are very proud of their efforts and teamwork.

Let us once again say thank you to each and every member of Team Randox, for the efforts they have made in 2020.

What we do at Randox remains vital to the national and global management of COVID-19 and our work is making a real and positive difference.

We continue to work hard and improve, for the sake of our family, friends and communities.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Official comment on extension of COVID-19 testing contract

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OFFICIAL RANDOX STATEMENT: EXTENSION OF COVID-19 TESTING CONTRACT

Acknowledging the extension of Randox’s contract to provide COVID-19 testing within Pillar 2 of the UK’s National Testing Programme, Randox Founder and Managing Director Dr Peter FitzGerald said;

“We take very seriously our responsibility to ensure that vital laboratory testing for Covid-19 continues and expands during the winter months.

“We have extensively ramped up our capacity and made significant private investment in order to fulfil and exceed our commitment to the National Testing Programme. All at Randox are fully committed to supporting the programme, and we look forward to continuing to play our role, which is crucial to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation.”

Press enquiries should be emailed to randox@newcenturymedia.co.uk 

 

 

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulates Randox

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulates Randox in House of Commons 22 Sep 2020

On Tuesday 22nd September 2020, in the House of Commons, Prime Minster Boris Johnson congratulated Randox for our vital role at national level in helping to deliver the Government’s testing programme.

The statement from the Prime Minister came in response to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, who asked the Prime Minister if he would commend Randox for the work we have done. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP said;

Randox has committed 99% of its Covid testing capacity to that programme and on 19th September they successfully reported almost 10,000 samples beyond the recommended daily rate.

The Prime Minister responded by saying;

I do indeed congratulate Randox and all the other businesses involved and we are massively expanding testing the whole time.  

Many thanks again for your ongoing support.

Our staff are our best asset and we salute your hard work and commitment.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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Matt Hancock pays tribute to Randox staff in House of Commons

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Matt Hancock thanks Randox staff in House of Commons 21 September 2020

On Monday 21st September 2020, in the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, personally thanked Randox staff for the role we play within the National Testing Programme.

He said;

Randox deliver a very significant number of tests every single day – a growing number – in fact, they are currently outperforming the allocation we have asked them to deliver and I pay tribute to every single person who works at Randox for the work that they have done and the part that they have played in keeping people safe.

Because everyone who gets a Randox test result, like every other test result, gets more information with which they can keep themselves safe and we have more information with which we can try to keep the whole of society safe.

Our work has greatly expanded the capacity for testing in the UK and we will continue to ramp up our capabilities, to both save lives and promote a timely return to a more normal society.

We thank our staff for their ongoing support, and for their commitment to the work that we do, which is making a real and positive difference.

For further information please email randoxpr@randox.com

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Update on Sample Kits

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STATEMENT FROM RANDOX: 07 August 2020

Randox Laboratories have today taken the decision to recall Covid-19 sample collection kits, following the identification of incomplete EC certification.   On 15th July DHSC placed these kits on hold due to the absence of swab certification from an external supplier. To date, Randox have not been provided with evidence to satisfactorily support the CE marking for these swabs.  So, noting the lack of CE certification by the supplier and that some kits remain in the field at this time Randox has, as a regulatory measure, initiated the recall of those kits used within the National Testing Programme.

Randox Laboratories will continue to provide high volume Covid-19 testing to the National Testing Programme from their laboratories, based on sample collection kits from other providers.

DHSC have stated the risk to safety is low and test results from Randox kits are not affected.

This recall applies only to sample collection kits within the UK National Test and Trace Programme.  Randox private customers or kits are not affected.

Press enquiries should be emailed to randox@newcenturymedia.co.uk 

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