Disruption of laboratory activities during the COVID-19 pandemic: results of an EFLM Task Force Preparation of Labs for Emergencies (TF-PLE) survey

EJIFCC. 2023 Oct 16;34(3):213-219. eCollection 2023 Oct.


Background: The EFLM Task Force Preparation of Labs for Emergencies (TF-PLE) created a survey that has been distributed to its members for gathering information on the key hazards experienced by European medical laboratories during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: The survey was distributed to over 12,000 potential contacts (laboratory workers) via an EFLM newsletter, with responses collected between May 8 and June 8, 2023.

Results: Two hundred replies were collected and examined from European laboratories. 69.7% and 78.1% of all responders said they were short on non-COVID and COVID reagents, respectively. Exactly half of respondents (50.0%) said that they could not complete all laboratory tests required for a specific period, but this figure climbed to 61.2% for COVID tests. Finally, 72.3% of respondents expressed exhaustion during the pandemic, and 61.2% reported increasing patient hostility.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on laboratory medicine in Europe. Cultural change, proactive planning, and even re-engineering in some parts of the laboratory industry may thus be necessary to prepare for future challenges.

Keywords: COVID-19; Laboratory Medicine; SARS-CoV-2; Survey.