To determine the turn-around time in a microbiology laboratory a survey form was designed to collect data on the origin and type of specimen and the dates and times when (i) the sample was taken; (ii) the specimen was received in the laboratory; (iii) the report was signed by the microbiologist; (iv) the report was sorted by the laboratory clerical staff; and (v) the final report was received on the ward. The cumulative time from sampling to a result arriving on the ward was 51.5 (SD 28.6) hours. The survey is a simple method of determining turn-around time and high-lighted minor deficiencies in the service which were easily rectified.
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