Little Newry girl gets ‘Harvey’s Gang’ tour at Hospital Laboratory

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Monday, April 8th, 2019
Community

The Southern Trust are the first in Northern Ireland to host a Harvey’s Gang Tour for young people with long-term health conditions and needle phobias to visit medical laboratories to understand what happens to their blood samples.

‘Harvey’s Gang’ started in 2013 at the Hematology and Blood Transfusion Laboratory at Worthing Hospital, Sussex NHS Trust.

 

 

Harvey Baldwin, an inquisitive 6 year old asked for a tour of the labs to see his own blood being analysed, as part of his treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

Sadly, Harvey passed away in 2014 but his legacy lives on through the charity. Harvey’s Gang scheme is now being extended nationwide and has been featured on the BBC One Show. 

Recently Sally McCloney aged 10, from Newry and Jonah Kerr age 6, from Lurgan enjoyed the grand tour of the Pathology Labs at Craigavon Area Hospital. As the first Harvey’s Gang member in Northern Ireland, this was Jonah’s second visit to the labs.

 

 

On arrival, they were presented with their own lab coats and became ‘Trainee Scientist’s’ for the afternoon. The children met the team of Biomedical Scientists and found out exactly what happens to their blood samples. 

They got to watch blood samples being processed, they looked down the microscope to see red blood cells, platelets and white cells and they saw the various analysers and technology used by Biomedical Scientists. At the end of the tour they were presented with goodie bags, an ID badge and a certificate of attendance.

Elaine Porter, Lead Biomedical Scientist in Microbiology said, “We have a dedicated team of Biomedical Scientists in the Southern Trust processing 6,500 samples every day.

 

 

“As our laboratory team rarely have direct contact with patients, it is such a pleasure to play our part in improving the patient experience through the Harvey’s Gang Tours. 

“Our ‘Trainee Scientists’and their family members get an insight into what happens to their blood and why and this can really help alleviate anxiety some children experience when getting blood samples taken.

“The tours are a great opportunity for us to showcase the vital work of our Biomedical Scientists. Staff love to ‘put a face to a name’ that they see so often and really enjoy the interaction with the children in helping them to understand the importance of their blood sample testing. 

 

 

She added, “It is very rewarding to see the smiles and laughter of the young people and we aim to make each ‘Harvey’s Gang’ visit as memorable as possible for all involved.”

Any child in the community who regularly has samples analysed in the laboratories can request a Harvey’s Gang Tour by contacting Elaine Porter, elaine.porter@southerntrust.hscni.net or Vivienne Nesbitt vivienne.nesbitt@southerntrust.hscni.net

 

 

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