New Normal for Pathology?

Since the start of 2020, the response of the laboratory medicine community to the challenges posed by COVID-19 has been incredible. From developing and validating new assays to reshaping diagnostic pathways to facilitate social distancing, the work done has been innovative, fast-paced, and achieved under the greatest pressure and scrutiny.

Whilst the changes in practice have been driven by necessity, the outcomes of these changes may have wider or more longer-term benefits than planned. From managing demand, considering alternative ways of delivering analytical services, or realigning services with clinical need, to innovative ways of delivering training, communicating with teams, or staffing departments, some of your innovations may be the foundations for facing future challenges within pathology. Similarly, identifying the challenges faced, and the positive or negative impact of these changes, are all important steps in shaping the future of pathology services.

To capture some of these problems and solutions, together with their drivers, challenges, and impact, we would be grateful if you could share your experiences through a short questionnaire. Whether positive or negative, we would be grateful for all of your input.

At Staffordshire University we are committed to our notion of “Connected Pathology”, where practitioners, educators, researchers and stakeholders can come together to formulate and evaluate change, share best practice, and create a culture of improvement and innovation. To support the evaluation of new ways of working, we will work with the NHS Improvement “Getting it Right First Time” (GIRFT) programme to share your solutions, and will collate and disseminate these across the wider pathology community.


Please access the questionnaire here.


For more information, please contact Ian Davies,

Welcome to Connected Pathology

Welcome to our new Connected Pathology blog from Staffordshire University. Over the coming months we will be blogging about our activities to develop people, potential, and connections among the pathology workforce.

For the moment, we will be using this blog to host resources to help our NHS pathology colleagues respond to the demands of the current SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID Return to Practice training

We have worked with the Institute of Biomedical Science to develop a training package to support Biomedical Scientists returning to practice on the temporary HCPC register. You can access this free package here.

COVID Ideas Exchange 

Across the world, pathology teams are developing and adapting their practice to respond to the demands of the pandemic. Our Ideas Exchange gives a platform for you to share your ideas and solutions to a wide audience. 
You can access the Ideas Exchange here.

If you have any ideas of resources that would be helpful, or would like to contribute to these blog posts, please get in touch at

Take care, and stay safe.


Apprenticeship Students on Testing Front Line

Science students from Staffordshire University are on the front line of COVID-19 testing  all across England. The 75 students students, all training to become Biomedical Scientists through a Degree Apprenticeship in Healthcare Science, work in hospital pathology laboratories and are part of the team of scientists responding to this pandemic.

The students are based in hospitals as far afield as Hull and Plymouth, including several working in the laboratories serving Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London where the Prime Minister was recently admitted for investigation since contracting the virus. At the Royal Stoke Hospital, 10 students are currently on the front line, working in laboratories undertaking COVID-19 testing as well as those providing cancer diagnoses and blood transfusions.

Biomedical scientists working in hospital pathology laboratories are the backbone of the diagnostic response to COVID-19. Across the country they are working 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week to ramp up testing capacity, as well as maintaining the essential diagnostic services to support other urgent clinical care, for example diagnosing cancer or responding to major accidents and trauma.

Ian Davies, Course leader for the Healthcare Science course and a biomedical scientist himself, said “our Healthcare Science Degree Apprenticeship students are on the front line in combating this pandemic. They are working extra hours and have cancelled their leave to support this testing, and many have rapidly taken on new roles and training to support their colleagues – their commitment has been amazing and we are so proud of them”.

The contribution of the Biological Sciences department does not stop there. Academic staff are developing training programmes to support Biomedical Scientists returning to practice from retirement, and the university technical service team have been involved distributing protective equipment from the University Science Centre laboratories to local hospices and care homes.

Staffordshire University graduates are also playing their part. Sarah Clinton, a molecular biology graduate and education manager at the Regional Genetics Laboratory in Birmingham is spearheading the Healthcare Science response to COVID-19 across the region, whilst Siobhan Roche, a biological sciences graduate, is part of the team coordinating clinical trails of COVID-19 treatment across the West Midlands.

Dr Angela Priestman, Head of Biological Sciences at Staffordshire University, said “this pandemic highlights the vital role that biological and biomedical scientists have in healthcare – not just in the testing for disease itself, but across the whole life science arena, from disease prevention and surveillance, to developing new treatments and diagnostic methods. We are very proud of how our students, staff, and graduates are contributing to this united response against COVID-19”.