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My Lab: major trauma centre

Rizwan Shakir gives a guided tour of his laboratory at the Royal Preston Hospital.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the regional specialist centre for major trauma, cancer, disability services, renal, vascular, neurosurgery and neurology.

The trust consists of Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital. We serve a population of 1.5 million.

In haematology alone, we process approximately 12,000 FBCs per month, 6,000 coagulation samples per month and 5,000 to 6,000 haemoglobinopathy samples per year.

We have a specialist anticoagulation service run by anticoagulant nurses who work alongside the biomedical scientists. Royal Preston Hospital offers specialist coagulation tests, which are batched and processed once a month, unless urgent, as well as specialist testing requested by haematology consultants.

In blood transfusion we process over 40,000 group and screen samples per year and are transfusing approximately 1,000 blood units a month. We also process our own antibody panels, provide factor products and provide Kleihauer tests.

As a major trauma centre, we have to ensure we have enough blood to supply the hospital during a trauma or multiple traumas. We have two satellite fridges to stock these units.

We provide a range of analytical and advisory services for the trust, both inpatients and outpatients, and GPs along with diagnostic services to a range of other health care providers.

To ensure the highest standard of work, we are an ISO: 15189 UKAS accredited laboratory. We ensure that our staff are trained to a high level and pride ourselves in the training and knowledge given to all staff that work with us.

We have excellent CPD schemes, morphology meetings and training courses to ensure that the staff are kept up to date with the world of science.

We have assisted in developments in point-of-care analysis by taking pathology to the patients. For example, full blood count with differential count for early neutropenic sepsis screening and anticoagulant therapy at point-of-care clinics.

We are continually making patient blood management developments to make pathology better, such as introducing digital pathology (DI60) .This project is well underway and once up and running will see further benefits to patients. The laboratory is looking to add a track system for coagulation analysers streamlining the work even more. This has been made possible by our senior management – Steve Hambridge, Alan Noyon, Nicola Peacock and Derek Wallbank, who are very passionate about the project and the laboratory.

The staff who work here are very friendly and we took part in Biomedical Science Day 2019 and won “Best individual workplace photo 2019”.

We are an excellent team who pride ourselves in the work we provide for our patients and service users. We are a training laboratory which has supported STPs, PTPs and placement students through their portfolios and provided them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their future careers. We welcome staff from all disciplines to have a look around the lab to see what we do and show how important biomedical scientists are.    

Rizwan Shakir is a biomedical scientist working in haematology and transfusion at Royal Preston Hospital.

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