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My lab: a busy multi-site facility

Biomedical Scientist Team Leader Liam Morrissey gives a guided tour of blood sciences at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

I work as Biomedical Scientist Team Leader in the automated biochemistry department of the fast-track blood sciences laboratory within the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Our laboratory is a busy multi-site facility providing a laboratory service for Leicestershire and the surrounding area. Our team works across three hospital sites including an emergency department hot lab and processes around 47.4 million tests each year. The fast-track blood sciences department consists of specimen reception, fast-track biochemistry, fast-track haematology and has support from the pathology quality team.

Each morning I attend a huddle with other team leaders and managers to discuss the operational status of the service. We often discuss topics such as staffing, if we have any issue that may impact the service and what has gone well in the previous days. We also have a chance to discuss opportunities for shared learning between the departments. Having this opportunity for interdepartmental communication allows me to work closely with my colleagues to overcome day-to-day challenges.

I work closely with the specimen reception team, which works across all sites helping to provide the 24/7 service that the users require and consists of an ever-expanding team of staff who recently implemented a change in the scheduled delivery time of routine GP work and how we process it. This has allowed us to improve workflow and ultimately the turnaround time for service users and patients. The team helped organise splitting the GP collections into two separate drop-offs to ensure that not all of the work arrives at the same time but in two spread-out drops, ensuring that the workflow is more consistent.

Another part of my role consists of being the DATIX Lead for my department. This allows me to work directly with my colleagues in the pathology quality team to not only investigate when things have gone wrong (or near misses), but to be able to facilitate the implementation of corrective and preventative action to minimise the severity and the risk of events reoccurring. In a similar fashion, I’m also undertaking the responsibility of Audit Lead for my department, which identifies areas for quality improvement and also enables me to help train and develop staff members interested in continual quality improvement.

Working within the fast-track biochemistry department as a Team Leader allows me to work within the team that I help lead. This means I can continue to develop my skills and knowledge while helping the team to reach our goals. We routinely carry out the tests you’d expect from any biochemistry lab, ranging from renal profiles to cardiac markers and therapeutic drug monitoring but we also process a relatively high volume of samples each day. This presents itself with many challenges but one thing we’re undergoing at the minute is a transformation project to refresh our equipment. This has consisted of adapting the service to allow for building work to be completed and new analysers to be installed and verified. This is currently ongoing in several phases but is showing promising improvements so far in feedback received from colleagues. We’ve also begun planning for a LIMS update, which will allow for further quality improvements for the service.  

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