Biomedical Scientists are so vital to the modern NHS. So whenever there is discourse around fair pay- why are we left out in contrast to our clinical colleagues?

The extensive discourse dominating the media at present over the pay of doctors and nurses has got the nation concerned over the impact these strikes will have on NHS service delivery. One group of professionals is so often missed out in these discussions, and these are Biomedical scientists who are also subject to the agenda for change pay banding system. We have a massive problem in Biomedicine – it’s a visibility problem and an overall lack of public awareness. Biomedical scientists are highly educated and trained scientists working within Hospital pathology departments. Their role is complex, demanding and varied depending on their speciality. They carry out a variety of scientific investigations on patient samples and provide reports so that doctors may use this information to confirm, monitor or exclude a particular disease.

Beyond the role of carrying out tests and investigations, they are also tasked with ensuring the integrity of those results are unimpeachable by maintaining aspects of quality assurance. Biomedical scientists analyse over 150 million patient samples per year ranging from tissues biopsies to detect cancer, to urine to detect bacterial infection. There is a great depth of knowledge required on how the human body functions in health and in disease. Not only that, that depth of knowledge must cover the scope of pathology down to the molecular and chemical level in order to understand the principles of various scientific tests.

Biomedical scientists provide important information on the effectiveness of antibiotics against certain bacteria and can provide important, life-saving information for those who need emergency treatments such as blood transfusion or organ transplants. Around 70-80% of patient diagnoses are based on the results provided by biomedical scientists and are without question, the heart of the modern NHS and the often-unsung heroes. This became even more evident in the wake of the most recent pandemic when on top of routine testing, they had to quickly develop and validate a new way to screen in patients for covid-19 testing. All of which was done without any delay to the turnaround times of routine results. There is no doubt that, without the skill, commitment and dedication of this workforce, many patients would have faced catastrophic delays to treatment. I felt I had to write this to celebrate my colleagues who carry out their jobs diligently, and with great care and to remind them, and the public how much they deserve to be celebrated and championed alongside clinical staff in pay disputes, and to say thank you – especially the technical support staff, whom without their skill, we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs as effectively.

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