In 2017 HSL became the provider of pathology services at Barnet Hospital. The vision was to provide a brand-new Rapid Response Laboratory (RRL) on the existing site. During building works, a clinical pathology service would be maintained. The task was further complicated by having to move laboratory services from nearby Chase Farm Hospital as part of the Trust’s reconfiguration.
HSL faced the multiple challenges of moving the service, adopting a new laboratory information management system (LIMS), linking this to a new hospital information system, and assisting with installation and connection to a new GP pathology reporting system.
The project also required a major overhaul of existing laboratory spaces as well as the installation and validation of new, up-to-date equipment.
Finally, staff received training on new equipment and processes, and were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.
Despite this period of significant changes across the department, it continued to provide a quality service without any compromise to the ISO accreditation.
The Histopathology and Non-Gynae Cytology service moved from Chase Farm Hospital into a temporary laboratory at the Royal Free, Hampstead while new hub facility at 60 Whitfield Street was under construction.
The service finally moved to the hub laboratory in July 2019. At the same time, a small laboratory supporting blood transfusion was set up within the Chase Farm building until new Haemonetics remote issue fridges were installed. These went live in October 2019.
Work at the main Barnet laboratory started in November 2018. During this time, existing services were moved to temporary areas within the hospital or, where possible, samples were sent to HSL’s central hub laboratory, the Halo Building.
Reconfiguration of a pathology service, installation of an IT system or introduction of new laboratory equipment are difficult enough individual challenges. But HSL completed the entire system change inside 12 months, and invited UKAS inspectors to the new RRL shortly after the builders had left in November 2019. ISO15189 accreditation for the new Barnet Hospital laboratory was confirmed shortly afterwards.
This amount of change has understandably had a huge effect on the staff, who have worked tirelessly to adapt to new service requirements, new equipment, a new company, new surroundings and new computer systems – all while continuing to run the service at the same time. Barnet Hospital’s Rapid Response Laboratory is HSL’s newest facility and one that our staff are proud to work in.