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