11 June 2020

The Trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals is celebrating National Biomedical Science Day today (Thursday 11 June) by shining a light on the vital work carried out by its team of professionals.

They may never be seen by a patient, but Biomedical Scientists ensure people across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales receives the best possible, often life-saving, care, and their role has been pivotal in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Every blood test, COVID-19 swab, tissue biopsy or other sample taken in hospital and at GP surgeries is examined by a Biomedical Scientist, and 70% of diagnoses in the NHS are based on pathology results provided by laboratory services.

Alan Jackson and Bir-inder Ironmonger, Head Biomedical Scientists at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, said: “As testing requirements for patient and staff have been increased in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trust has rapidly upgraded equipment and implemented new testing. Our laboratory has been redesigned to accommodate social distancing and to avoid cross-contamination of samples, with designated COVID-19 areas and additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

“The team is currently testing approximately 300 samples every day and plans are being made to move to a 24-hour service. We are now also commencing COVID-19 antibody testing to tell us whether our staff and patients have already had the virus.”

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at SaTH, said: “The work of Biomedical Scientists lies at the heart of healthcare, and the vital role they play at SaTH has come to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As well as detecting the virus, over the past few months our Biomedical Scientists have altered their way of working to ensure people dependent on blood transfusion and cancer diagnosis still receive their treatment during the pandemic. I am extremely proud of the tenacity and dedication displayed by the team.”