South West and Wessex

Welcome to the South West and Wessex section of the website.
Famed for its cider, surf and cream teas, our region stretches from Gloucestershire on the Welsh border, to Cornwall & Devon looking out to the Atlantic Ocean to Hampshire in the east meeting the Home Counties.

The aim of the SW&W regional committee is to provide support to the regional Members in terms of training, workforce planning, FCS issues and to encourage sharing of expertise and good laboratory practice by holding regional scientific meetings and providing feedback from national committee meetings.

South West and Wessex Committee

  • Anna Barton, Chairperson
  • Louise Duvall, Secretary and Audit Secretary
  • Sarah Blampied, Meetings Sec/Treasurer
  • Shannon Rees, Meetings Sec/Treasurer
  • Fiona Davidson, Regional tutor and Workforce Representative 
  • Laura Stephens, Trainees representative
  • Oliver Clifford-Mobley, Regional FCS representative
  • Vacant, Web Content Developer 
  • James Walton, Immunology representative
  • Gemma Vanstone, Microbiology representative
  • Mary Stapleton, Ordinary Member
  • Hannah Turner, Ordinary Member
  • Corsten Douglas, Ordinary Member
  • Annie Cook, Ordinary Member
  • Joe Bailey, Ordinary Member


South West & Wessex Poster Competition

See below entries for the South West & Wessex Poster Competition.
The winners will be announced on 18th January 2021.

Poster details

Poster 1

Authors: A. Abraham*, L. Hikin, J. Dave, P. Smith

Title: Optimisation and validation of a cannabinoid quantification method in PM blood by UPLC-MS/MS

Cannabis is a widely used recreational drug obtained from the plant Cannabis sativa. The plant produces chemicals of which the most psychoactive agent is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is metabolized in the body to THC-OH and then to the psychotropically inactive metabolite THC-COOH. The current method using GC-MS requires extensive samples preparation and long run times. We have developed a method to measure THC and its metabolites on the LC-MS/MS for forensic use.

Poster 2

Authors: R. Biss*, V. Biggart, J. Lake and A. Dawnay

Title: Providing POCT Services at the NHS Nightingale Hospital London

Teaser: The NHS Nightingale Hospital London was set-up by NHS England in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide critical care for up to 4000 patients, with Barts Health providing pathology and POCT services. With five days to be patient-ready, installation and verification of essential equipment was prioritised, alongside the development and implementation of training. Subsequent devices were then verified to support increasing requirements and improve service resilience. The team rose to the challenge, establishing a safe POCT service to meet the needs of the new hospital.

Poster 3

Authors: A. Lomax, E. Leaper, B. Omonojo, L. Truykov, M. Perry, A. Cooper*

Title: Clinical Audit of NICE guidelines for Coeliac Disease Testing Pathway: Room for Quality Improvement?

Coeliac Disease is the most common cause of malabsorption worldwide. It affects ~1% of the UK population and is grossly under-diagnosed. Symptoms are primarily due to malabsorption. The Blood Sciences laboratory recognised it was not following NICE [NG20] guidelines. The laboratory performed a clinical audit to target quality improvements within the testing pathway. Reducing unnecessary tests offers estimated laboratory savings of ~£53,000/annum without compromising patient care.

Poster 4

Authors: L. Cornes*

Title: Galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase quantitation by HPLC-MS/MS

Galactose-1-phosphate uridyltransferase (Gal-1-PUT or GALT) quantitation is important in the diagnosis of Classical Galactosaemia. An HPLC-MS/MS assay has been set up, optimised and validated in our lab at North Bristol NHS Trust. Benefits include no radioactivity, smaller sample volume, larger batch sizes and improved precision. A summary of the method, its performance characteristics, and comparison with the previous assay is presented, alongside sample requirements and clinical indications.

Poster 5

Authors: C. Flannery*, M. Binhussein, F. Bukhari, B. Alharthi, A. Algethami, A. Khojah, J.P. O’Neill, M. Sherlock, C.J. Thompson, D. Smith, A. Hill, A. Mc Erlean, A. Agha

Title: Primary Hyperparathyroidism The Role of Biochemistry and MIBI SPECT CT

Localisation studies using technetium-labelled sestamibi scintigraphy (MIBI) facilitates selective parathyroidectomy in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. However, the reported sensitivity of this technique varies considerably between studies. This study aims to determine the sensitivity of sestamibi SPECT/CT in localising parathyroid adenomas in primary hyperparathyroidism and to investigate the effects of biochemical and clinical parameters on this sensitivity.

Poster 6

Authors: K. Hedgethorne*

Title: To comment or not to comment? A review of Duty Biochemist commenting practices for primary care

A common dilemma faced by Clinical Biochemistry teams when establishing commenting practices is whether primary care requestors would like us to prioritise the speed of reporting abnormal results or the addition of interpretive comments to aid diagnosis and further investigation. Reported here are the findings of a GP survey completed as part of an ongoing review of the commenting practices at Derriford Combined Laboratory, which aimed to find a consensus from our users regarding the processing of abnormal sodium, potassium, and calcium results. The results show that although speed of reporting is often preferred to the addition of interpretive comments, surveys such as these are useful to identify those results where primary care requestors would value input from the Duty Biochemist to aid patient management.

Poster 7

Authors: M. Irving*

Title: Identifying a Surreptitiously Induced Hypoglycaemia in a Paediatric Patient

The limitations in commercial insulin assays require external referral to laboratories for a full biochemical investigation. Here a case is discussed that aptly portrays the limitations associated with the Roche Elecys Insulin assay when insulin is administered surreptitiously, resulting in a hyperinsulinism picture without the raised insulin concentration.

Poster 8

Authors: P. Thomas*, M. Wallage, T. McDonald & A. Cooper

Title: Introduction of Faecal Immunochemical (FIT) Testing in the SWAG and Peninsula Cancer Alliance Area

FIT testing was introduced following a request by the Cancer Alliances using a unique delivery model. Work load increased to 1600 tests / month over 18 months. The most common indication being “aged over 50 with unexplained abdominal pain or weight loss”. Patient survey results were very positive. The positive predictive value of the test was 8% and the negative predictive value 99.8%. Significant savings from introduction of the service were predicated from early diagnosis and reduced referral.

Poster 9

Authors: P. Thomas*, M. Wallage & E. Roberts

Title: Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Faecal Immunochemical (FIT) Testing in the SWAG Cancer Alliance

Initially during COVID workload halved before increasing three fold due to expanded criteria and catch up testing. This put considerable strain on the laboratory. Reduced endoscopy capacity was manged by risk stratification of 2WW patients by FIT testing. The age criteria were widened increasing numbers by 6%. The % positive FIT tests was the same in primary and secondary care suggesting similar risk. Expanded FIT testing is likely to remain in place and is predicted to reduce endoscopy numbers.

Poster 10

Authors: T. Mazaheri*, K. Shipman

Title: Impact of LDL formula and apo B quantification on UK PCSK9i and ESC/EAS treatment thresholds in patients being investigated for familial combined hyperlipidaemia

Martin equation provides a greater estimation of LDL-C values. This could result in demonstrating suboptimal treatment for patients whom LDL-C levels are underestimated using Friedewald calculation and potentially make more people (at most 12%) eligible for PCSK9i therapy according to UK thresholds. Control as indicated by ApoB was better than LDL-C therefore ApoB targets do the converse in this population with suspected FCH i.e. they would suggest less need for treatment escalation and demonstrate that more of the population is treated to target than the LDL-C suggests.

Poster 11

Authors: J. Jeffery*

Title: Measurement of serum c-peptide in patients following simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplants

Type I diabetes patients with end stage renal failure are suitable candidates for simultaneous pancreas and kidney (SPK) transplantation. C-peptide is used to monitor graft function. This study aimed to look at biological variation and determine a reference interval for c-peptide in SPK patients. 347 c-peptide results from 26 patients were obtained from the laboratory database. The quoted reference interval for c-peptide for a healthy fasting individual with normal blood glucose, is 350-1800 pmol/L.  For SPK patients a reference interval of 441 – 3068 pmol/L may be more appropriate.


*Submitting Author


SWW Poster Competition 2020


South West & Wessex Local and Regional Audits

We are interested in the local audits that are performed around the region and are keen to encourage members to share their audits via a brief audit report template.
The aim of this is to share improvement ideas and help identify useful regional audit topics.

SWW audit report template


Laboratory Index

SW&W Laboratory Index

Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Clinical biochemistry department information

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

North Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust