NHS Grampian has become one of the first health boards in Scotland to begin its own Covid-19 testing.
Specialists based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary began checking and declaring their own patient samples earlier this week.
Previously the process was carried out in Glasgow.
The change means that up to 160 samples a day will be tested in Aberdeen, with plans to increase that in the coming weeks.
It comes after the health authority faced criticism earlier in the week for testing Prince Charles at the Balmoral Estate while frontline medical staff went untested.
Microbiology and virology clinical director, Dr Noha El Sakka, said there was “an essential need for the service.”
She said: “Prior to Monday we were sending samples to the reference lab and there is a high turnaround time and time is wasted on transportation – that has all been cut-off.”
She added: “We get results locally and faster and this is even more important with patients who require critical care.”
Dr El Sakka said that shift patterns had also been changed to enable test results to be reported late into the evening and move pressure away from frontline care teams.