The laboratory plays a supportive role in providing diagnostic information to clinicians to help treat patients. In the field, the use of rapid and bedside laboratory tests allows the team to make quick, reliable decisions regarding patient management. This supports the AUSMAT in a sudden-onset disaster response, and a public health response.
The laboratory cache
The laboratory cache contains the reagents, consumables and equipment necessary to perform the basic tests offered. This kit is continuously monitored, reviewed and updated as new suitable tests and technologies become available, and as our response capability expands.
Training and policy development
As technology changes, and as new diseases emerge, the laboratory capability adapts. The laboratory team ensures policies and procedures are current in anticipation for deployment. The team also provides necessary training to staff prior to departure and offers technical support for teams remotely.
When deployed, the laboratory scientist is responsible for the operation of laboratory equipment and performance of testing. If providing transfusion capability for patients, a critical role for the scientist is the performance of pre-transfusion screening of patients and donors to ensure a safe blood supply.
The laboratory supports AUSMAT protocols for monitoring team health on deployment with provision of tests and equipment. Specific protocols – e.g. daily testing for COVID-19 – are managed by the laboratory scientist (if deployed) or delegate, with remote supervision provided by the laboratory team at the NCCTRC.