Thursday, 16 August 2018

Royal Hospital for Sick children goes live with Harvey's Gang

Hello everyone; FANTASTIC news 

Edinburgh has officially went live with ‘Harvey Gang’

We are delighted to announce to Harvey Gang that Arabella Muir was our first patient at Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh on 08/08/18. 

Arabella was diagnosed with ALL in Nov 2016: Here are a few lines from Arabella:

"I was really excited when I was asked to be the first member of Harveys Gang in Edinburgh.  It was really interesting to see around the labs and find out what happened to my blood.  It was really cool.  I liked looking down the microscope and found that really interesting.  I’ve seen it on load of movies and it was great to do it myself.  I really didn’t know what to expect and I never realised how many things need to be done to your blood to get a tiny test.  The machines were amazing, especially the big robot.  It was all really exciting.  I really liked it when the sample came out the spinner and the blood was split like oil and vinegar.  It was really strange how little was left when the clear bit was taken out and amazing that you can get a result from so little blood.  Getting to see my bone marrow was an extra bonus and let me see what leukaemia looks like.  I really liked looking at the neutrophils, especially the one that looked like a smiley face; it was well behaved!  Thanks for asking me to be the first one to do it.
Harvey Gang tour started with blood samples taken in morning –arrive by hand with patient, Arabella Muir 

The Behind the scene tour begins with Arabella being introduced to the Air Pod System which transports blood samples to the blood Science laboratory from the RHSC hospital, Arabella sent a pod to the hospital clinic with a personal message from her, we then waited to see if the same pod returned with a message sent back; It did! 

Arabella got to identify the variety of blood collection tubes used in our laboratory –she recognised the different sizes and colours of tubes from a chart of different coloured blood tubes and recalled the colour of tubes she got taken today for blood tests

Arabella was able to view the process in which individual barcoded laboratory numbers are assigned to her own blood samples and ready to be analysed for the requested tests  and the tests requested by the doctor along with patient details are entered into the laboratory computer system

Arabella got to use the whizzy machine ‘centrifuge’ in which a blood sample was centrifuged to separate the cells from liquid part ‘supernatant’ for biochemistry testing.

Arabella then toured the Blood Sciences laboratory watching blood samples being processed.

Arabella meets the specialised machine called ‘Abbott architect’ but we prefer to call him ARCHIE, she watches him perform many different types of chemical reactions on the fluid plasma (supernatant) the most common requests are for analysis of blood on this analyser, we have capability measuring the amount of  30 different substances in blood and  9 products in urine  some in fluids such as CSF, different chemical reactions requires longer time to measure the products, the chemical reactions take place in individual glass cups called ‘cuvettes. chemistry assays can assess your health, check if you have an infection or see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are working

Arabella gots to playI SPY in the laboratory and she managed to tick off  everything in the activity book – Well done Arabella!

Arabella visited the Haematology section to meet the analyser  ‘sysmex’  also known as the ‘The gluppie glup’ machine which sorted the blood cells and counted them into different cells;
white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

We looked at her own results from today and compared them with the reference range for children of her age and her previous results
Arabella watched a her own blood being spread to make a blood film and then stained> to do this we had to use a machine to ‘dye the cells’ by colouring them in make them in its makes them easier to spot under the microscope
Arabella looked at her own blood sample under the microscope and identify the different types of cells with help from the activity sheets

Arabella also got to view her own previous bone marrow spreads under the microscope as well as her own blood film and bone marrow were viewed from a monitor with an explanation of her diagnosis and treatment needed to make her get better at the end of the tour  Arabella was congratulated on becoming an honorary member of Harvey Gang and presented with Certificate of Attendance on becoming ‘a trainee Biomedical scientist’ for the day
‘Harvey’s Goody bag’ full of presents (age dependent) such as: SYSMEX ruler and coloured post it tabs, a squishy microscope and water bottle from Menarini. Cuddly teddy and highlighter triple coloured pen and pencil from WERFEN. Gonk novelty character, coloured post it tabs and post it pad and pen from IBMS .Harvey’s Gang journal, pen  and coloured pencils pack .orange Harvey’s Gang lanyard and  gonk novelty character. a squishy red blood from Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. a fabulous Harvey’s Gang lab coat from Handelsbanken (The new batches are kindly sponsored by The IBMS)

Special mention to our current laboratory suppliers ‘highlighted’ for their generous donations

If you require any more information , please do not hesitate to ask

Best Wishes
Tamara Hanson
Laboratory section manager
Paediatric Haematology and Biochemistry laboratories
Royal Hospital for Sick children

Harvey's Gang also would like to say thanks to Tammy for her huge effort to start Harvey's Gang and to the team in Royal Hospital for Sick children and welcome Arbella to Harvey's gang.

Additionally  a  huge thanks to Handelsbanken, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and The IBMS for their kind generous and continued support for Harvey's Gang.

You can help support Harvey's Gang thank you, Malcolm Robinson

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Holly joined Harvey's gang with the Dundee team

The Dundee team were joined by Holly (13) and her mum (Fiona) on 4th June.  

 Holly has Hereditary Spherocytosis and has had her gall balder removed after complications arising from this.  She also has mild von Willibrands factor.  

Whilst she would like to attend school full time the spherocytosis means that she is always anaemic and therefore frequently tired.  She is still diligently studying at home though (wish all the staff here were as conscientious)!

Holly is also a very keen dancer and doesn’t let her anaemia stop her from enjoying ballet, highland dancing, jazz and broadway. Phew!

It was a pleasure to have someone visiting who is so keen to learn and find out about what we do and how it relates to her diagnosis.  A good time was had by all.  Holly is keen to visit the other laboratories to learn even more!

Welcome to Harvey's Gang Holly; I am glad you have joined as and good luck for the future, hopefully the Dundee team will get you into the other laboratories soon, best wishes, Malcolm, Founder Harvey's Gang

Monday, 21 May 2018

Eva joins Harvey's Gang at Southampton

On Friday University Hospital at Southampton (UHS) 

Kerry and team write; "we had the great pleasure of meeting 7 ½  year old
Eva has  Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and has been treated at UHS since she was  a 1 year old!

Eva bought hospital bear along on the visit, he had his own home made lab coat which was super awesome!

Eva loves science and was really excited and engaged by her tour.  Eva’s mum said the initiative was inspired and a great experience for the children, often the blood tests needed are not explained to the family.  Eva went back to clinic, had her sample taken and came back smiling to load it on the track.

Eva’s play specialist Jenny took her second tour alongside Eva, Jenny said she loved the way each tour was tailored to the child and was very age appropriate.  Apparently Eva was buzzing with excitement after the tour and she wants to be a scientist J

For me today it was humbling to watch Eva intently listening and taking in everything we told her, such a smart young lady.  She put a smile on all the staffs faces.

Looking forward to our next little visitor

Kerry Dowling
Blood Transfusion Laboratory Manager

Laboratory Medicine

Southampton General Hospital

Thanks Kerry and Harvey's Gang team at Southampton: Did you Catch the BBC The One Show? I was recognised, with an NHS70 Healthcare award for Children and Young People, for the work that Harvey's Gang is doing in 40 Trust sites around the UK. Very humbled, thank you, Malcolm.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Portsmouth QA hospital launch Harvey's Gang

Good news Portsmouth QA hospital (Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust) hosted Harvey's Gang:

Nathan Hunt, Blood Sciences Laboratory Manager for Portsmouth writes; "our first Harvey's gang tour on Thursday of last week. Our first patient was Sam, an 8 year old boy with immunodeficiency which required a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). He was accompanied by his older brother Liam and his Dad. Unfortunately the other little boy was too sick to attend but Paediatrics were able to speak to the family of two brothers, Abdullaah and Abdurrahman, with beta Thalassaemia and they were able to attend at short notice with their Dad. 

From left - Laura Wainwright (Consultant Clinical Biochemist), Mark Cubbon (Chief Executive of the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust), Liam Merrick and brother Sam Merrick, Melloney Poole (Chairman of The Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust), and Andrew Flatt (Clinical Director of Pathology)
They were greeted by the CEO Mark Cubbon and the Trust Chairperson, Melloney Poole where they also received their Harvey's Gang lab coats (a favourite with everyone including the staff) and Harvey's Gang goodie bags before splitting into two groups to have a look around Blood Bank, Haematology, Flow (Sam only) and Screening (Abdullaah and Abdurrahman only). 
There were interactive ‘experiments’ in Blood bank and some pressing of buttons in Haematology.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the tour and feedback from the the Paediatric Consultants, parents and also the staff involved was very positive and appreciative. 
There is a wash up meeting planned for later this week and some fund raising events also in the pipeline (we do love cake in pathology!). (isn't that the truth! comment by Malcolm)

I have also suggested some lunchtime educational meetings for the staff based on the conditions the boys have, to complete the loop as it were, as some of the lab staff do not have a great deal of knowledge of these particular conditions. I will keep you updated re the fundraising.

Thanks Nathan, Harvey's Gang tours are great Continual Professional development (CPD), as some laboratory teams specialise in different area's and some staff groups do miss out. I am so very pleased that you, as a local Trust, Portsmouth, are now live with Harvey's Gang tours. Harvey's gang are live in 35 NHS Trusts now we are halfway to this year' goal of NHS70

Brilliant work Team Portsmouth, many thanks Malcolm

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Another Harvey's Gang tour at Southampton, today

9 year old Zakir joined Harvey's Gang today

Kerry and her team in the Pathology laboratories are busy; Today the laboratories at UHS Southampton had the pleasure of a visit from Zakir (9) with his brothers, Rahim and Yasin, and their Mum & Dad

Zakir is a kidney transplant patient

His favourite part of the tour was ‘blobbing’ (AKA tile group) and his 12 year old brother loved the microscope

Help Harvey's Gang and donate here, please; Thank you

Well done Kerry and Team, welcome to Harvey's Gang, Zakir;

And now we have "Blobbing" for Tile Grouping, but will this overtake yesterday's "Mango slushie" for (Platelets)! It's a new vocabulary, and I didn't do well with the real one!Have a great day, best wishes, Malcolm Robinson, Harvey's Gang

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Kelsy, Keira and Dad, (Billy), join Harvey's Gang in Southampton today

Today in Southampton University hospital we had Kelsey join Harvey's Gang;

Kelsey who is 5 and ¾ visited us with her sister, Keira (7) and their Dad, Billy; Together they joined Harvey's Gang touring the laboratory and asking questions.

 Kelsey has Neuroblastoma.  Kelsey has had multiple transfusion of red juice (Red Cell Transfusions) and "Mango Slushie" (platelets)

Kelsey wanted to know ‘everything’ about the lab

Kelsey her sister Kiera and dad Billy really enjoyed their tour – especially doing some ‘real science’;

 and the "squishies" Martha and Olivia (AKA The LabCold penguins)

Well done Kerry and everyone at UHS NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust; 

As a footnote Harvey's Gang went LIVE in Manchester (Harvey's Gang site 32) yesterday; I will update everyone when I have the full story; Manchester will be closely followed by Bristol, Edinburgh and Dublin, all this month I hope;

very best wishes, 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Peter Evans, LEGO Continuous Improvement Director joins Harvey's Gang

Harvey's Gang was honoured to host and ensure Peter Evans joined Harvey's Gang at both Worthing and St Richard's hospitals. THANK YOU,  I do really hope you enjoyed your time with us Peter as much as I enjoyed the time hosting you with us at Harvey’s gang 

Our team enjoyed meeting you and sharing idea's and Lego: Aidan and Adam only two, of our many, AFOL's and Play Specialists.

I do really hope that LEGO are able to help Harvey’s gang as we grow and achieve 70 sites this year and beyond. New sites will be Vermont in USA and Canada.

This is a diagram of our "tracked laboratory at St Richards. However
 we have a separate Manual handling, currently, larger laboratory at Worthing. Peter experienced a Harvey’s Gang tour, the Harvey's Gang Lab coat and Harvey's Gang Goody bag, including the FIRST orange Harvey’s Gang LabCold penguin in his Goody bag.

Additionally THANK YOU Peter and  LEGO for Bluefin (Worthing) and Howard (St Richard’s) wards new LEGO collection. It will be used by our young patient's (and not so young!)
Peter setting up with Harvey's Gang wall in the background.
LEGO heaven!

And who new LEGO biggest manufacturer on Tyres in the world!
6 bricks (4 x 2) same colour: over 910 million combinations, just from 6 bricks!
The education of LEGO working WITH Harvey's Gang will be amazing.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Harvey's Gang has had a great start to 2018

With the NHS being 70 years old later this year Harvey's gang would like to reach 70 sites!

Well what a great start to 2018 with 31 sites with Harvey's Gang tours and an additional 31 working towards starting tours! Also we have tours in Pharmacies too. Truly amazing, well done everyone involved.

Harvey's Gang has published their first newsletter and we hope to produce a new one every 6 months.

Harvey's Gang is being supported at  BGS Reading 12 - 14th April and LabCold have already produced the very special Harvey's Gang orange penguins that will be used to raise funds for Harvey's Gang.

Harvey's Gang was shortlisted for the Chief Scientific Officers Healthcare (Partnering Patients & Citizens) 2018 award and I was very lucky to meet HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne. We came runner up to an amazing service that looks at helping youngsters with calibrating their hearing aides and grommets; when you really think of it this is not easy, even I would say nearly impossible, and during the awards I talked with Emily Frost and I hope that we can help 3D Tune-in develop with Harvey's Gang in the future.

I received a letter from our Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) President and CEO which made me feel very special,  a very big thank you Alison and Jill, receiving this did make me feel very special.

The race is now on for the big cities to go live with Harvey's gang too: Rebecca and team in Manchester and Tamara and team in Edinburgh. These will really help so many more young people in these cities and clinical referral sites. (The pictures and Stories will follow as they go live).

Finally I have been shortlisted for Biomedical Scientist of the Year; This award will be announced on April 20th . I am so very proud and honoured to have been nominated, but then to be shortlisted is amazing. Fingers crossed.

very many thanks for reading, best wishes, Malcolm and Trustees of Harvey's Gang

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

William from Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital joins Harvey's Gang

Over to Anne:
I just wanted to tell you about our most recent lab visit on 6th February 2018. Although William was too shy for a picture we have a success story to tell.

William is 11 years old and has been through a lot recently and finds blood tests extremely difficult. Added to this his mum has undergone chemotherapy and so he has seen a lot of blood tests and cannulas and many hospital visits. 

Amy Play Specialist at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital told me the plan was to visit the labs with his Mum and then take his bloods afterwards.

William came down with his gel patches! (and his Mum & Amy). He is a tall 11 year old and really looked the part in an adult lab coat! 
William was a little too shy for a  photo but told me of his interest in Science. 

I invited him back for Work Experience when he is 16. 

was delighted to hear back from Amy that the visit was a success. Amys' words are below.

Hiya Anne,

Yes fantastic! He came back and sat and did his bloods! He was very pleased with himself and after lots of trying in the past he finally did it! Definitely think the lab tour helped massively so thank you so much!!

Thank you,


This is a true success story; Thanks Amy, Anne, and the team in Brighton.
Thanks, Malcolm

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Harvey's gang tour of Pathology and Pharmacy at Hereford County Hospital

Young patients swap their wards for labs for behind the scenes visit at Hereford County Hospital

Two young patients at Hereford County Hospital got a rare glimpse behind the scenes when they donned white coats and visited the laboratories and pharmacy manufacturing team.

In fact, Alesha and Taya looked so convincing they were almost mistaken for staff members when, armed with clipboards, they set out to solve a quiz to help them understand more about what happens in these areas of the hospital.

“Both of them have undergone intensive chemotherapy and surgery for tumours and wanted to know more about what happens to their blood samples, where their blood transfusions come from and how their ‘chemo’ is made,” said Consultant Paediatrician Simon Meyrick.

(Left to Right) : Laura Philips (Taya’s Mum), Taya Philips, Sarah Brooke (Play Specialist), Alesha Brunt, Andrew Hedges (Pharmacist)

“Their visit to the labs was supported by the Harvey’s Gang charity,” added Simon.  “The charity pays tribute to a young boy, Harvey Buster Baldwin, who was enthusiastic to understand about his illness and so his local labs in West-Sussex showed him around when very he was unwell.

Tracey Clarke ( Blood Transfusion Practitioner), Alesha Brunt, Taya Phillips
“Children in the same situation all over the world have become members of Harvey’s gang and visit labs in this way, so it was great that the charity supported Alesha and Taya’s behind the scenes visit at the County Hospital.” Help support Harvey's Gang

During the visit Alesha and Taya were accompanied by their mums and they were given a guided tour of the Blood Science Laboratory by Tracy Clarke, Blood Transfusion Practitioner.

Dr Meyrick (Consultant Paediatrician Oncology), Alesha Brunt

They also saw the pod system in action – a system of vacuum tubes which criss-cross the hospital which are used to send important samples to and from the wards and laboratories very quickly – along with real live blood analysis, chemotherapy being prepared and they even identified blood cells down a microscope.

They also needed to be eagle eyed to spot a number of secret penguins dotted around the laboratories and thoroughly enjoyed the dry ice – “we turned on the tap and the smoke came out and it was really cold”.

To round off a busy visit they each received a goody bag and enjoyed a trip to KFC.

“We had a great time and we’re hoping that other children with cancer and other chronic conditions will be become members of Harvey’s Gang in the not too distant future,” said Simon.
Alesha Brunt
Thank you so much, Lucie Lloyd,  

Children’s Community Nurse/ Staff Nurse Paediatrics 

The joy of sharing is ours to enjoy empowering more youngsters by introducing them to Harvey's Gang

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Harvey's gang goes live in Gloucestershire Royal hospital

Six year old Thomas the first patient at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to be part of Harvey’s Gang when he visited their pathology labs with his brother Lewis and mum Lorraine on 20th December.

Nurse for Paediatric Oncology Claire Harrison says: “I am really excited about Harvey’s Gang coming to GRH, it is a great opportunity for our patients to see and understand exactly what happens to their blood every week. It’s also a great opportunity for me to get to know the staff in our pathology lab who work so hard in processing the blood samples I take from children and young people with cancer and leukaemia in Gloucestershire.”


Nikki Price, Senior Biomedical Scientist commented: “I am so pleased Harvey’s Gang has started in Gloucestershire. Such an amazing legacy to join that hopefully will take away the mystery of where blood samples go to and why it is so important for us to test them. My colleagues and I are really excited to make a positive difference to children’s experience of hospital visits and I hope that we pique their interest in science too!”  

Thomas’ Mum Lorraine adds: “Thomas really wanted to visit the lab and meet the people who his blood samples are sent to. The tour of the labs was great and it’s such a lovely thing to have on offer for young patients - getting to see him enjoy himself really meant a lot to me and it helps Thomas too. The staff were all lovely and spent their valuable time making this a day Thomas and his brother Lewis won't forget."

The adults in the photo are (l to r):
Play Specialist, Mum Lorraine and Claire Harrison

Every year, approximately 1 million blood samples are collected from children for testing in the UK. As well as being a positive experience for children, the tours also have a dramatic impact on the scientists at work, reminding them that every vial of blood they process represents a child or a patient in need of their help.


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Leeds Teaching Hospitals joins Harvey’s Gang

Harvey’s Gang launched in Leeds Teaching Hospitals by Willim

Late December, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) became a member of a very elite club - Harvey’s Gang.

 LTHT is the first Trust in Yorkshire to join Harvey's gang and Leeds Children’s Hospital patient William, aged 9, became the first patient to get involved when he was shown around the Pathology department.

As part of his visit William, who has Diamond Blackfan anaemia - a rare bone marrow failure disorder where the patient fails to make enough red blood cells, had blood samples taken and then took his sample to the Haematology lab where his journey began.

William, in his Harvey’s Gang lab coat, watched his sample being processed and was able to see his blood cells under the microscope, with a little help from the Trust’s Biomedical Scientists. It was then off to the Transfusion lab where William booked his sample in and could see that the laboratory records of every transfusion he had received since he was five months old. William worked with the Transfusion Biomedical Scientists to understand which blood types were suitable for him, after that William was able to select the units of blood that would be used for his transfusion.

After the Blood Sciences laboratory tour William went back to the clinic, ready for his transfusion that he had helped to cross match.

Caroline, William’s mum, said: “The visit to the blood labs really made a difference to William’s understanding of the whole process, he now knows where his bag of blood comes from and he knows where all his blood results come from and how it happens. This all helps him to understand his illness and the meaning of certain words that may seem pretty straight forward to us.

“This means a lot to us as parents as William really struggles to understand things when explained verbally and it always helps him to see things visually.”

Jennifer Rock, Transfusion Practitioner at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust: “Harvey’s Gang is a fantastic initiative and we’re proud to be a part of it here in Leeds. The visits mean so much to the children and to their parents, it really gives them a greater understanding of their hospital treatment and what happens behind the scenes.  It also means a great deal to staff who really enjoy getting to know the patients and their families.”

Fantastic work Leeds, so very proud of the team and the efforts of all, particularly, Jennifer
Brilliant, thank you all.
from Malcolm Robinson