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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.

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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Does archiving Histological materials offsite require a leap of faith?

The University Hospital Aintree previously used an all-purpose storage company for their external archiving of histological materials. This article details the problems overcome and the improvements made by switching to CellNass.

Mike Venney from University Hospital Aintree shares his experiences

“At University Hospital Aintree, the space we have available for storage is finite with every available inch used throughout. So inevitably we got to a stage where we had to consider using an external archiving partner. We looked for a company that could store slides, blocks and associated paperwork and a colleague recommended a well-known storage company. Initially, we made the decision to only store materials over 5 years old, after which samples are infrequently recalled.

But things didn’t go according to plan. Our account managers changed on a regular basis and when we requested a sample, our first point of contact was a call centre where the understanding of the stored samples and how to handle them was low. We also had problems with basic indexing, caused by errors in their database and the fact that whole consignments were indexed with a single bar code. When we requested an individual slide it was difficult for them to locate, and on one such occasion, this involved a patient with a recurrence of breast cancer whose sample we needed to test for tolerance towards a type of chemotherapy.

In such a serious situation we requested back the whole batch and found the individual sample ourselves. CellNass first came onto our radar when we were looking for a partner with an HTA licence necessary to store post mortem material. Straight away we found that CellNass knew exactly what we needed and understood the way laboratories work. We were also given the chance to tour their facility and meet the team. The first big difference we discovered was that blocks and slides were indexed in small usable amounts within agreed sample ranges. This gave us reassurance that we would be able to get samples back without experiencing the problems of the past.

When the material was eventually transferred from the storage company to CellNass it was found to be damaged with many slides broken – something we’d experienced on previous recalls. CellNass did their best to recover and repair as many as possible. They knew where things were at every stage and gave us realistic timescales. During this transfer we needed some material returning that the storage company had not catalogued. CellNass went out of their way to locate and return them – a great test at a challenging time.

When previously asked for material by colleagues, we always hoped they could be returned – but could never guarantee it. Now we are about as close to 100% confident as we’ll ever be. To say we’re pleased is an understatement!”

Mike Venney, University Hospital Aintree

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CellPath Welcomes Mid-Wales Manufacturing Group

On Wednesday 16th February, CellPath had the pleasure of welcoming the Mid-Wales Manufacturing Group to our headquarters, here in Newtown, Powys.

During the visit, we gave them a tour of our manufacturing facility; one of our unique selling points that allows us to guarantee the quality of our products.

We also gave them a tour of our CellNass service, offering a complete Cellular Pathology archiving solution, plus a look at our newly built warehouse, due to officially open in approximately 3 months.

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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Change of Packaging

CellNass would like to give notice of a recent change in packaging design. The new boxes for recalled items has changed colour and is now purple. Commentary on the outside of the boxes ensure that those handling the package understand the importance of its contents and to handle with care. 

If you have any comments, please feel free to let us know.

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CellNass Shortlisted for Powys Business Award

CellNass is proud to have been selected as a finalist for the ‘Growth Award’ at the Powys Business Awards. As a trading brand of CellPath Ltd, we have a good record at these awards, having won the innovation award and company of the year over recent years.

The ceremony will be taking place on 30th September 2016.

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