Human Tissue Authority (HTA) Licensed Cellular Pathology Archiving

Trudy Johnson the Department Manager of Cellular Pathology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, shares her experience of archiving at CellNass.

“The ever-growing volume of blocks and slides in our Cellular Pathology Laboratory was stored in an adjacent room, but when we made the move to LBC (Liquid Based Cytology) the room used for storage was required to house this process.

As space throughout the hospital was at a premium, our immediate and short-term solution was to move storage blocks and slides to a Council run storage facility nearby. However, without a Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licence no patient records could be externally stored resulting in the need to store these in dispersed locations around the hospital site.

HTA Licensed Cellular Pathology Archiving

The situation was far from ideal. Every time we needed to retrieve a slide, two people were required to take time out thereby losing us valuable laboratory time and often leaving us short staffed. Combine this with an ever increasing archive requirement and future plans to collaborate with neighbouring hospitals to develop a regional Centre of Excellence, we knew we needed a more effective long-term solution.

The catalyst for change occurred with the closure of the Council run storage facility in 2011. Our first steps were to identify our future storage needs from a HTA approved establishment, the level of service and support we would expect in terms of the archiving process, recall procedures, response times and associated cost. Our specification formed the basis for an open tender, alongside a site visit which would ultimately play a large part in our decision-making process.

Our first impressions during the site visit to the CellNass HTA licensed facilities in Wales were very impressive. A number of things stood out for us instantly.

Firstly, they talked our language. Pathology is clearly at the heart of their business and they understood our requirements in detail. They used the same words we used and because they are experts in slide and block storage systems, it made us realise that handling and indexing would be in safe hands. Secondly, we were shown the whole process from start to finish. Seeing CellNass people in action was very reassuring. Every stage was demonstrated fully, showing us both the process and the people involved, helping us experience their service first hand and estimate the likely response time to any request.

Once confirmed as our preferred archiving partner, we welcomed the CellNass team to Gateshead where they made a visit to our existing store and conducted necessary risk assessments for moving and lifting the material. For our convenience, CellNass removed everything in its existing state, indexing and repacking back at the archive facility. The service was soon put to the test when we made a quick recall, leaving us delighted in the ease by which the process worked.

An interesting benefit we have found of archiving with CellNass is the ease in which we can cost and retrieve groups of blocks or slides for research work. Previously, our staff could spend hours retrieving and providing internal retrieval costs – now it happens simply and quickly, without any interruption to laboratory time.

Being treated as a valued customer and building long-term partnerships has always been more important. So we were very pleased when CellNass agreed to provide a flexible service arrangement under the banner of our Managed Service Contract – helping us maintain an aligned procurement strategy into the future.”

We are always happy to welcome customers to have a look at our facilities - if you'd like a tour, please use the form on the right and a member of our customer care team will be in touch to arrange an invitation to visit.

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