Blood Transfusion Services

Haematology is the study of the blood.

The Haematology service assists in the diagnosis of anaemia, leukaemia and many blood diseases, including bleeding & thrombotic disorders.

Dr. Tanya Bernard is the Lead Consultant for Laboratory Haematology, with Dr. Anne Miller leading on Clinical Haematology. The laboratory is managed by Jean Cuthbert, our Lead BMS (jean.cuthbert@asph.nhs.uk).

Teresa Willcox is the Lead BMS for Blood Transfusion (Teresa.Willcox@asph.nhs.uk) and Dr. Andrew Laurie the Lead Consultant and Chair of the Transfusion Committee.

This department deals with blood grouping and the preparation of blood products for transfusion. Haematology/BT have a staff of 38 including the Anticoagulant Nurse service and incorporating the Hospital Blood Transfusion Practitioner services. Opportunities exist for trained and untrained staff to work in the lab on both sites.

Please check the NHS Jobs website for the latest information on Pathology jobs.


A Day in the Life ...
A Day in the Life of a Haematology & Blood Transfusion BMS

Bank holiday Monday, 8 a.m., I'm on the night shift tonight in Haematology, I turn over and go back to sleep!

Afternoon now so I begin to prepare myself for the nights work.

I arrive at Pathology at 7 p.m., the start of my shift, and go directly to Haematology.

My colleague who is on duty for Blood Transfusion is already at the bench and the day person is handing over to him.

This involves being updated on all the blood cross-matched during the day, any patients with antibodies and the state of the blood stocks. Everything seems to be under control….famous last words. The telephone rings and A&E have a RTA with 3 casualties and will be requiring blood on at least 2 of them. The samples arrive in Central Reception via the air tube and to his relief, are correctly labelled. He starts to group, antibody screen and X-match the samples, but before this is complete there is a 'phone call for URGENT blood in theatre, as one of the casualties is bleeding badly. Urgent blood issued, time for tea. How time flies when you are busy, it's 9.30pm already.

In Haematology, life is less eventful. I have spent my time going back and forth to Central Reception, taking the samples from the air tube, removing them from the sample bags and checking the tubes are fully and correctly labelled. The samples are bar coded and data entered onto the computer system with all the patient demographics and tests required. To speed the turn-around time for specimens I have booked in Biochemistry samples at the same time and now centrifuge them for my colleague.

Now I'm on my way back to Haematology to process the samples, amongst this batch is an urgent sample from theatre with a low haemoglobin result, so I rush and drag my work mate from his tea to issue more blood for the RTA casualty. In the remaining samples is a request for Malaria parasites, this is going to involve me in some intensive microscope work, ruining my chance for tea at this moment. I do an antigen test on the malaria sample and make thick and thin films, stain these and examine them closely for at least 20 minutes. The film is positive and I diagnose a case of Plasmodium vivax and I discover the patient has been to India but not bothered to take any anti-malarial drugs.

I go next door and discover my friend is still busy x-matching blood for the RTA victims, the patients require platelets and FFP and he has had to telephone the Transfusion Centre and have more stocks 'blue lighted' to the department. I only hope for his sake we do not get an aneurysm or a maternity department bleeder tonight, as he is busy enough already.

I receive more samples from ITU including the RTA person who has now left theatre but requires clotting investigations. These results are grossly abnormal so I notify the Doctor in charge, who I know will require more FFP from Blood Transfusion.

It's now midnight and I'm desperate for some food, so I liaise with my friend in Blood Transfusion to split break times between us in order to cover both departments. I then go and find the Biochemist and offer to cover their department while they go to eat.

The hospital seems to be becoming less busy now so we can enjoy our food and watch something on one of the 30 channels we have provided for us in our Staff Room.

Bleep goes off just when you are relaxing a little, could they repeat the FBC and clotting on the RTA?…Yes…and this time the results are almost normal…another life saved. While 'phoning the results I enquire about the other RTA victim, thank goodness he was not so bad after all.

It's approaching 6 a.m. now and we begin to do the routine maintenance on the instruments, this allows the day staff to be able to process specimens without delay when they arrive at 8 a.m.

Now the early morning specimens start to arrive from ITU and SCBU amongst others and we process these quickly, as we are committed to a 1 hour turn-around time for these samples.

Thank goodness it is 8 a.m. and the early shift staff are just arriving, time for me to get away home and get some rest. I've got the next two days scheduled off work, so I plan to hit the sales and spend some of this hard-earned cash. At least I haven't another night shift for another week.