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Biochemistry in Manchester

Senior Biomedical Scientist Jessel Lobo gives a guided tour of the Directorate of Clinical Biochemistry at the Manchester Foundation Trust.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) was formed on 1 October 2017 following the merger of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

MFT hosts one of the largest diagnostic Biochemistry services within the NHS. Now, as its own directorate, biochemistry resides within the division of laboratory medicine and currently comprises laboratories across Oxford Road, Wythenshawe, and Trafford Hospitals. Collectively, the laboratories process over 13 million tests a year providing a diverse range of complex and specialist services for both adults and paediatrics across the country, in addition to being a large tertiary referral centre and university teaching hospital. MFT also incorporates Trafford General Hospital – the birthplace of the NHS.

Roche is the current supplier of the MFT routine analytical platforms. The Roche 8100 tracking system currently resides at our 24/7 Oxford Road and Wythenshawe sites, including the largest Roche automated track in Europe at 27 metres long containing ISE/702/801 with online decapping, aliquoting, sealing and storage, processing biochemistry and immunology work with viral serology expected to join soon. Trafford will be upgrading to Roche Pro ISE/503/801 platforms to support the extended seven-day service.

Specialist Chemistry at the Oxford Road Campus (ORC) and Wythenshawe comprises an array of Waters, Thermo and Sciex LC-MS/MS instruments, using highly advanced analytical methods plus various other techniques, such as HPLC, RIA, ELISA, xanthochromia and calculi analysis. Tests performed exclusively at the ORC site include busulfan, thiopental, faecal immunochemical testing and PIIINP – one of the only seven sites across Europe performing PIIINP analysis using the gold standard RIA method. The specialist section provides service locally, nationally, and internationally for external laboratories and clinical trials. The department is heavily invested in research and development to ensure biochemistry is at the forefront of technology.

The ORC site supports the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital performing sweat collections for diagnosis and monitoring of cystic fibrosis using ICPMS and breath hydrogen analysis. Biochemistry also incorporates the regional newborn screening laboratory responsible for blood spot screening of all newborns within Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria (around 8% of the births in England), performing all of the first-line analytical tests for congenital hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell. The section also supports the adult specialist endocrinology service.

Biochemistry also manages the point-of-care testing (POCT) devices located across all the MFT sites, community and outreach services. MFT is accredited to POCT UKAS 22870 – one of only four laboratories in the UK. POCT oversees the analysis of over 13 million tests annually on the POCT devices, including blood glucose, blood gas, viscoelastic testing and urine analysis testing. The service is supported across sites and supported the COVID pandemic response across Manchester through COVID testing at the point of entry into healthcare.

Despite the unprecedented challenges faced due to COVID, the biochemistry team at MFT remains resilient in providing a service. There are many career opportunities across all MFT sites covering many laboratory disciplines. Please look at the MFT website, JobsNHS or Twitter to find out more.  

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