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My lab: haematology department

Haematology Operational Manager Stacy Burrows gives a guided tour of her lab at the Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

My Lab Haematology-department my lab-img-6705

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (STHK) and Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust formally came together in July 2023, forming the Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (MWL). Pathology STHK has provided services for both trusts since October 2014. Whiston Hospital is the “hub” laboratory with Essential Services Laboratories (ESLs) at Southport, Ormskirk and St Helens Hospitals.

We serve a population of over 600,000, delivering acute, intermediate, primary care and community-based services. We provide regional services for burns, plastic surgery, and spinal injuries to more than four million people across Merseyside and West Lancashire, Cheshire, The Isle of Man and North Wales.

MWL processes over seven million tests per year, with over one million of those processed in the haematology department. We analyse over 3000 full blood counts and over 600 coagulation tests a day. Across our four sites we have a highly trained, innovative, dedicated and enthusiastic team of just under 50 staff, including medical laboratory assistants, medical laboratory associate practitioners, trainee biomedical scientists and specialist biomedical scientists. We work closely with our consultant haematologists to deliver a high-quality service for our users. Cover is provided 24/7 at both Whiston and Southport and routine services at Ormskirk. At St Helens we support haematology clinics and the cancer diagnostic centre. The department is fully UKAS accredited and provides a wide testing repertoire, including routine haematology and coagulation assays, specialist coagulation assays, immunoassays, platelet function, PCR screening, manual and digital morphology.

Our vision is to provide patients with five-star patient care, through implementation of “leading edge” technology and the development of efficient operational practices that enhance productivity and reduce costs while improving patient outcomes.

At MWL pathology, patients are at the heart of decisions, and they receive the best possible care. MWL’s aim is to provide efficient services designed to generate surpluses to invest in continuous quality improvement, thus enabling patients to benefit from the latest technology and to receive care in a safe and appropriate environment.

A recent example of this is the introduction of digital morphology, following successfully gaining UKAS accreditation at the end of 2023. This improves cross-site interoperability and allows the instant remote review of blood films for consultant haematologists. The introduction of CellaVision remote review software assists our department in improving workflow and allowing more efficient reviewing of blood films with significant emphasis on urgent referral of films to the clinical team and overall reduction of turnaround times for all blood film reviews. Additionally, the introduction has enabled the department to improve standardisation of reporting blood films, reduce uncertainty, improve training, knowledge and competency of staff, as well as assisting the department in utilising trained morphologists more efficiently.

It’s a privilege to work with such a passionate and diverse team, dedicated to providing five-star patient care – working collaboratively, embracing change and utilising continuous quality improvement processes to help achieve our goal.  

Stacy Burrows is Haematology Operational Manager in the Haematology Pathology Department at Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

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