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A Quality Day in the Lab – Biomedical Science Day 2019

10 July 2019


On 20th June Antrim and Causeway Laboratories hosted a very successful Biomedical Science Day event, with over 50 staff visiting us from across the Trust for tours of the laboratory.

It was interesting and very informative, highlighting the important role played by the labs in healthcare’

‘I would recommend anyone from a clinical area to spend an hour there’

‘The staff are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable’

The most common comment was how rigorous the Quality Assurance is within the lab.

At least 70% of diagnoses that are made are based upon results the laboratory produce. The laboratory has a rigorous ‘Quality Management System ‘, to ensure we provide stringent quality assured testing. Our visitors were able to see how we test over 3 million samples a year and produce results that are backed by accreditation to international standards of quality.

The journey of a sample has 3 phases, pre-analytical (taking the sample), analytical (the testing) and post analytical (what happens to the result).  An error can occur at any of these points. During our tours visitors will have seen our Specimen Receptions and how we identify errors amongst the 1000’s of samples we receive daily before we begin testing. Some common examples are:

  • Incorrect sample container
  • Mismatch of details on form and sample
  • Insufficient / no patient identifiers
  • No test requested
  • Sample too old

Our visitors were able to meet our staff and see the high level of knowledge they have in their disciplines. Biomedical Scientists issue results and are able to query discrepant results that only become apparent post-analysis, such as sample contamination from incorrect draw order, from a drip arm or sample being taken from wrong patient. They also help to identify critical results that need to be communicated to clinicians urgently.

From seeing the laboratory in action it’s possible to see how the quality of results is dependent on the quality of the sample we receive, and that the process starts from the moment the sample is taken. From the clinical staff taking the sample, to the healthcare assistant receiving the sample, to the Biomedical Scientist releasing the result, we are all part of a team that wants the right result on the right patient at the right time.