The discipline of Clinical Biochemistry has laboratories on each of the Trust’s three acute sites: at Ashford (William Harvey Hospital), Canterbury (Kent and Canterbury Hospital) and Margate (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital). It provides a comprehensive clinical service to the hospitals, primary care trusts and the community by screening, diagnosing/excluding disease and monitoring response to treatment and drug therapy.
It processes more than 6 million individual biochemistry tests per year. Analyses are performed using the latest technology by qualified scientific staff assisted by trained support staff. All processes are rigorously quality controlled and the discipline participates in all relevant external quality assessment programmes. It has the facilities to measure or detect a range of analytes (electrolytes, intermediary metabolites, enzymes, proteins, allergens and drugs) in blood, urine and other body fluids. Some specialist investigations are provided through arrangements with specialised laboratories throughout the UK.
The majority of the requests originating in primary care are transported directly to the main automated laboratory at the William Harvey Hospital, using a dedicated transport system. The Kent and Canterbury and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital laboratories support the inpatient and outpatient work arising from those sites. All three laboratories provide laboratory support required for urgent patient management on a 24/7 basis.
On each of the three acute sites the discipline has a consultant clinical scientist who acts as the lead scientist for that site. Additionally there is a principal clinical scientist based at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and a principal and senior clinical scientist based at the William Harvey Hospital. All clinical scientists are HPC registered and rotate through the discipline’s ‘duty biochemist’ desk, based at the William Harvey Hospital, on an approximately one day per week basis, offering clinical advice to the entire Trust, reviewing exception results and validating some of the more complex analyses. The discipline also has up to four trainee clinical scientists at any one time (one in each year of the training programme). One of the principal clinical scientists acts as the discipline’s quality lead.
The discipline is accredited for training of biomedical scientists and pre-registration clinical scientists. The discipline has full Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA).
The Biomedical Scientist (BMS) staff consists of a Head BMS who operates across the Trusts three sites and is supported by five Chief BMS staff, 13.4 Senior BMS staff, and a number of BMS, trainee BMS and AHCS staff.
The discipline incorporates the Kent and Medway Pathology Network’s diagnostic clinical immunology laboratories, supported by a visiting Consultant Immunologist, and lead by one of the Chief BMS staff mentioned above. The laboratory is based at the William Harvey Hospital and undertakes a range of analyses for the investigation of autoimmune diseases, dysproteinaemias, immunodeficiency, B cell malignancy, allergy and hypersensitivity.
Point of Care testing
The discipline supports a variety of point of care testing (POCT) throughout the Trust. A consultant clinical scientist within the discipline chairs the Trust’s POCT committee. The Trust POCT co-ordinator, a Chief BMS in clinical biochemistry, is accountable to the Head BMS for scientific and technical issues in Clinical Biochemistry.
There is an active research programme, focusing particularly on markers of renal disease and clinical aspects of protein and lipid biochemistry. This work is published in peer-reviewed scientific and clinical journals (average six publications/year) and widely disseminated at national and international meetings. The discipline collaborates with several external research and academic partners.