A NUMBER of patients tested at Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital have been incorrectly told they had coronavirus.

Concerns were raised after it emerged that one of the testing machines at the hospital was giving an unexpectedly high number of positive results.

The swabs affected were then retested on another machine, which showed some of the results were 'false positives'.

Musgrove is contacting patients who may have received an incorrect results.

Dr Daniel Meron, chief medical officer for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Musgrove, said: "The NHS is testing patients for COVID-19 when they are first admitted into a hospital as inpatients so that we can care for them appropriately and minimise the potential for COVID-19 to spread within healthcare settings.

"On Thursday, June 4, one of our vigilant laboratory managers noticed an unusual increase in the number of positive test results for patients at Musgrove Park Hospital recorded by one of the laboratory’s machines and we moved quickly to retest those swabs on a second machine.

"This showed that the analyser had reported some false positive results.

"We are now in the process of contacting all those patients who were diagnosed as having coronavirus after their swabs were analysed in the faulty machine to explain to them what has happened and that it is possible they may have been incorrectly diagnosed, to understand the impact this may have had on them, to offer them subsequent testing and to say how sorry we are.

"We are contacting everyone who is affected so please do not worry if you do not hear from us. Please continue to follow the advice you receive from your healthcare professional and the national advice to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

"Our heartfelt apologies go to all patients and their families who have been affected."