Dr James Evans, SMTL's Research and Development Manager, presented at the recent Procurex Wales 2022 Conference held in Cardiff.

James' presentation, "Evidence, testing and technical assurance in procurement decisions", highlighted the many ways SMTL supports Procurement colleagues in their decisions on procuring disposable medical devices for NHS Wales and further afield. The presentation was part of a well-received NHS Wales session that included interesting presentations on the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and decarbonisation in NHS Wales.


SMTL OCP and Staff News

During the pandemic, SMTL tested medical devices & PPE products at an unprecedented level.  The demand for SMTL post-pandemic continues at a high level which has stretched the laboratory services.  Together with impending staff retirements these situations have highlighted the requirement to reevaluate our service and structure.

SMTL senior team have been working closely with NWSSP People and Organisational Development colleagues on an Organisational Change Process (OCP) to develop a structure that ensures resilience of the laboratory as well as supporting future development, both in terms of capacity and breadth of service.  We are pleased to announce that the OCP has been completed and a number of new appointments have been made.

Dr Gavin Hughes has succeeded Pete Phillips and been appointed Director for SMTL services from his previous deputy role. Gavin succeeds Pete Phillips who has semi-retired and has taken on a part time Technical Director role.

Louise Barry has been appointed as Technical Manager for Physical Testing and Dr James Evans takes on a new role of Research and Development Manager.  Matthew Alderman’s role as Operations Manager has developed into a wider encompassing position to include managing SMTL’s strategic and operational direction.

At Easter we said goodbye to Claudia Padurariu who secured a position in a laboratory closer to her home in Cardiff, and we wish her the very best in her new role.  We are happy to welcome Conciliah Mofokeng to SMTL’s Biological Testing Department as Claudia’s replacement. Conciliah joins us after completing an MSc in Public Health and Health Promotion from Swansea University.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new appointments at SMTL.

Odour Control Wound Dressings

Deodourising wound dressings have been used for many years, however despite their widespread use, there is little objective data on their odour handling characteristics. The European standard EN 13726-6:2003 details a test method designed to assess the resistance of primary wound dressings to penetration by odours, however there are limitations with this method as few laboratories have the necessary apparatus to perform the testing. In addition, wound dressings are assessed in their dry state, which does not simulate clinical use, and therefore raises questions on its adequacy for providing a realistic clinical evaluation.

In 1998 Thomas et al. (J Wound Care  7;5) published an in vitro test method where both odour-adsorption and fluid-handling capacity are assessed together, and thus more realistically simulates the conditions of normal clinical usage.  Over recent years the SMTL have developed this test to produce a validated method that determines the ability of wound dressings to absorb exudate and control odour in the wet state.

Please contact our Physical Testing Department if you require any further information or wish to discuss undertaking an odour control testing project.

Kickstart Employee - Jakob Morgan

The Kickstart Scheme is a government funded scheme to create new job placements for 16-24 year olds that are on Universal Credit.  The 6-month placement aims to support the participant to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme. 

SMTL participated in this scheme and we welcomed Jakob Morgan to the team back in March 2022 as an Administrative Assistant to help the backlog of scanning in the Office.  SMTL are currently in the process of going electronic and are slowly going through all hardcopies of projects and scanning them into a central database.  This is no small task and Jakob has proved a real asset to the team in getting way ahead of where our busy admin team could have got to at this point. 

Jakob has written a message about himself as an introduction to get to know him a little bit more. 

“Hi, I’m Jakob. I’ve been working at SMTL for about 6 months at the time of writing, initially coming on-board via the Kickstart scheme. I completed a bachelor's degree in Physics, and a master's degree in Medical Radiation Physics at Swansea University. My initial hope for the scheme was for it to provide me with experience, and potentially serve as an entry point for a career within the NHS. It has more than delivered on this, even enabling me to gain exposure to other areas of the trust, such as Velindre Cancer Centre. I’ve loved my time at the lab so far and look forward to this continuing!”

Jakob has now joined us through the Bank and his job role has altered to meet the needs of the service to Lab Assistant and will be assisting the Admin Office, QA and Physical Department in the future.

ISO 14001 Accreditation

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) is committed to managing its environmental impact, reducing its carbon footprint and integrating the sustainable development principle into their day to day business.  Annual surveillance audits are undertaken to assess continued compliance with the ISO 14001:2015 Standard.

The ISO 14001:2015 Standard places greater emphasis on protection of the environment and is the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS). An EMS consists of the policies, processes, plans, practices and records that define the rules governing how our organisation interacts with the environment. ISO 14001 also helps organisations of all sizes across all sectors make their day to day operations more sustainable. Sustainability can ultimately save money, improve brand reputation, engage employees and build resilience against uncertainty as well as the ability to rapidly adapt to change.

In recent years SMTL's Quality Assurance department have liaised very closely with NWSSP Corporate colleagues, in order to gather evidence and improve practice with the ultimate aim of achieving accreditation to ISO 14001. Thanks to the hard work and knowledge of our colleagues in NWSSP, following the last external annual inspection the scope of the NWSSP ISO 14001:2015 certification for its key sites across Wales was expanded to include SMTL.

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