Focus on scientists working behind the scenes

Biomedical science staff at Scunthorpe hospital are flying the flag for their profession as part of a national awareness campaign.

Working with colleagues across the Path Links network in Grimsby, Boston, Grantham and Lincoln, together they all provide a range of diagnostic investigations and clinical services to five hospitals and 186 GP practices spread across 2,000 square miles.

The pathology lab never sleeps, with staff in microbiology and blood sciences working 24/7 365 days a year.

Kea Yangye, biomedical scientist at Scunthorpe hospital

The team at Scunthorpe is celebrating Biomedical Science Day on Thursday June 20, between 10 and 2pm by holding an information stand in the restaurant at Scunthorpe hospital.

Biomedical Science Day is a national event organised by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), the professional body for biomedical scientists and laboratory support staff.

It aims to inform the public and empower patients by telling them all about biomedical science, as it is at the heart of healthcare.

Scunthorpe’s Nichola Duckworth, specialist biomedical scientist, said: “Biomedical Science Day is a great opportunity for us to build relationships with our colleagues, patients and public and to tell people what we do.”

Serving a population of about one million, the Path Links laboratories process 4.5 million specimens, perform 20 million tests and generate five million test reports every year.

At Scunthorpe hospital, the labs provide the following:

• An integrated blood sciences department providing haematology, transfusion and biochemistry services. Some of the diseases and illnesses diagnosed include leukaemia, lymphoma, anaemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism and liver disease. It also issues blood products for transfusion.

• An immunology department which provides a service for the entire county of Lincolnshire. It diagnoses autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and coeliac disease; allergies; immunodeficiencies and monitors diseases affecting the immune system.

• A microbiology department which studies micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and parasites that cause disease. The department provides a county-wide service for the diagnosis of fungal infections in nail and skin samples as well as diagnostic TB services. They grow the organisms that cause infections which can take anything from 24 hours up to eight weeks. Diseases diagnosed include: meningitis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections and food poisoning.

• Virology/serology department provides a county-wide service. Diseases diagnosed include Hepatitis and HIV. It also involves monitoring the effects of vaccines such as MMR to check immunity. This department also performs molecular testing. Diagnosing sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia and respiratory infections.

Nichola said: “It would be great to see staff and public pop along to the stand on Thursday. Our staff will be on hand to talk about what we do, and how to get into the profession.”

Alison Geddis, President of the Institute of Biomedical Science, said: “Despite many encounters with our work throughout their lifetime, most people are unaware of the important role of biomedical science in diagnosis, treatment and general healthcare. The aim of Biomedical Science Day is to inform the public about the full range of expertise involved in hospital care, and to celebrate our great profession.”

If you are a journalist and require further information contact the communications and marketing team on 03033 302528 or via nlg-tr.comms@nhs.net