Band 3 Medical Laboratory Assistant - QEH - London

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Job role: Medical Laboratory Assistant

Site: Queen Elizabeth Hospital    

Department: Histology                  

Grade: Band 3

Hours: 37.5 - 9am-5pm ( Wednesday-Friday)

Necessary skills/experience: Preferably previous Histology experience, experience working with Winpath, good communicator, good team player. attention to detail, flexible in their approach to work.

Job Summary:

To ensure that a high level service is provided and maintained in accordance with Trust policies and procedures, and in line with good laboratory practice. The medical laboratory  assistant (MLA) will be expected to work as part of a team of MLAs and participate in general laboratory duties as directed by senior biomedical scientists.  The work of the MLA will be supervised by experienced HCPC registered BMS and senior staff.


The post holder will be expected to carry out the following duties under the supervision of

Qualified staff and in accordance with appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP’s),

Policies, and Health and safety guidance.  The list includes but is NOT exhaustive of the following duties 

Key Result Areas & Performance:

  1. Technical

a.    Receiving, sorting, labelling and coding specimens and request forms accurately and in a timely manner enabling processing of samples.

b.    Solving problems on a day to day basis regarding mislabelled and lost specimens according to protocol and communicating the problem or its resolution to the appropriate medical and laboratory staff.

c.    Assisting in the preparation of samples for analysis e.g. cut-up room duties and assist consultants and BMS at cut-up, print cassettes, take dictation, file specimen, carry out specimen disposal (chuck out) after reporting is complete and decalcification of bony samples after training.

 d. Dealing with patients with known or suspected infection or other diseases and may carry out simple analysis under supervision e.g. routine staining on automated staining machines, slide mounting  automated and manual , filing of forms, slides and blocks.

e.    Ensuring samples have been transported and stored appropriately bringing to the attention of laboratory staff any anomalies in storage or delays in specimen transport.

f.     Use general laboratory information management system (LIMS) accurately, according to laboratory protocols and maintain patient confidentiality at all times.

g.    Assisting in the provision of a pathology diagnostic service for emergency, planned and tertiary care by undertaking pathology procedures as part of the investigative process as defined by the Head of Department. This may include:

i.      Prioritising samples for urgent request/emergency procedures.

ii.     Tracing samples or request forms that are inappropriately labelled.

iii.    Informing healthcare staff and GPs when repeat requests are necessary.

iv.   Advising laboratory users on the appropriate sample container for particular tests.

v.    Archiving and retrieving samples.

h.    Packaging and sending away specimens to other laboratories when required, in accordance with defined postal regulations.

i.      Under supervision undertaking safe treatment and disposal of clinical and biological waste in accordance with local rules and clinical waste regulations. Replacing clinical waste bags and sharps containers as necessary.

j.      Assisting in the monitoring of supplies of request forms and sample containers to ensure adequate levels are maintained to supply laboratory users, notifying appropriate personnel when re-ordering is necessary.

k.    Recording all items taken from and added to laboratory stock, according to stock control procedures, maintaining a clean and tidy stock area.

l.      Recording and monitoring information on laboratory equipment on appropriate Quality Control charts and informing line managers of deviations from acceptable ranges.

m.  Preparing laboratory disinfectants at the prescribed concentration, disinfecting and cleaning equipment such as centrifuges and work areas as required.

n.    Participating in audits/surveys within pathology as and when required.

o.    Providing practical training in procedures within own area for new staff when required.

The technical duties undertaken require a methodical approach and long periods of concentration, particularly when processing or sorting specimens, with a frequent need for standing, sitting and VDU use. Staff require good manual dexterity and hand, eye co-ordination, speed and accuracy for preparation of specimens, aseptic technique and pipetting. Other duties involve frequent manual handling of consumables, clinical waste, and the occasional handling of gas cylinders and  pushing of  trolleys to move heavy, awkward items. Work involving the handling of clinical specimens results in the daily exposure to hazards including pathogenic micro-organisms in the form of contained and un-contained materials (broken/leaking samples) e.g. body fluids and chemicals used as part of the sample process.

  1. Laboratory Informatics

a.    To enter patient sample request details and result details accurately into the departmental and designated Trust computer systems and ensure data integrity.

b.    To use the laboratory information management system to search for test results in response to telephone and other enquiries, in accordance with the Data Protection and the Freedom of Information Acts.

c.    To comply with the local and national policies for the safe secure and confidential processing and storage of patient and other laboratory information.

3. Administrative

  1. To convey information, which may include patients results or process issues, ensuring all enquiries are dealt with efficiently and to conclusion.
  2. To keep accurate records of samples referred to other laboratories and investigate any delay in the return of reference laboratory results.
  3. To communicate authorised laboratory results in accordance with laboratory policy as and when instructed. These may be of a complex and sensitive nature.
  4. To keep accurate records of telephone enquiries and all results given out by telephone as per laboratory audit trail.
  5. To deal with telephone enquiries and direct callers to the appropriate member of staff or bench area. This may involve acting as first reference point for dealing with complaints and anomalies.
  6. To participate in and comment on the implementation of protocols and new equipment if and when required.
  7. Filing, and photocopying as and where required.


This job description is intended to be an interpretation of the general scope and proposed responsibilities of the post at the time of writing and does not form part of the contract of employment. Therefore, you may be required to undertake other duties and responsibilities commensurate with your role.  The job and priorities for action will be periodically reviewed.  This will be done by the line manager in consultation with the post holder.

The post holder will be required to participate in an Annual Performance Review which will take into account the objectives of the laboratory. This job description, personal objectives, training and development will form part of the review.

The post holder will maintain patient confidentiality at all times, will recognise and adhere to the Trust’s Standing Orders and standing Financial Instructions, will be responsible for accurate computer data entry and data quality and will carry out their duties with regard to accepted standards of professional practice.

The Trust aims to promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential.  The Trust welcomes applications from diverse candidates.  Criminal records will be taken into account for recruitment purposes only when the conviction is relevant.  Having an ‘unspent’ conviction will not necessarily bar any candidate from employment.  This will depend on the circumstances and background to the offence(s).

As the Trust meets the requirements in respect of exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, all applicants who are offered employment will be subject to a criminal record check from the Criminal Records Bureau before the appointment is confirmed.  This will include details of cautions, reprimands or final warnings, as well as convictions.

5. Health & Safety:

The post holder, like all other employees must take reasonable care at all times, and be aware of their responsibilities under Health & Safety at Work Act (1974), infection control and other legislation and ensures that agreed safety procedures are pursued in a way that maintains a safe environment for all employees, patients and visitors at all times.

6. Data Protection Act:

The post holder must maintain the confidentiality of information about patient, staff and Health Service business in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).

All employees of South London Healthcare NHS Trust must not, without prior permission, disclose any information regarding patients or staff.  In circumstances where it is known that a member of staff has communicated to an unauthorized person, those staff will be liable to dismissal.  Moreover, the Data Protection Act (1998) also renders an individual liable for prosecution in the event of unauthorized disclosure of information.

7. Infection Control:

Infection Control is everyone's responsibility. All staff, both clinical and non clinical, are required to adhere to the Trusts' Infection Prevention and Control Policies and make every effort to maintain high standards of infection control at all times thereby reducing the burden of all Healthcare Associated Infections including MRSA. In particular, all staff have the following key responsibilities:

  • Staff must observe stringent hand hygiene.  Alcohol rub should be used on entry to and exit from all clinical areas.  Hands should be washed before and after following all patient contact. Alcohol hand rub before and after patient contact may be used instead of hand washing in some clinical situations.

  • Staff members have a duty to attend infection control training provided for them by the Trust as set in the infection control policy.

  • Staff members who develop an infection that may be transmissible to patients have a duty to contact Occupational Health.

8. Work force

Under the direction of senior BMS, the applicant will be required to work along other medical laboratory assistants (MLA x 3), Associate practitioner (MLA Band 4 x1), biomedical scientists (Band 6 BMS x 4) and senior biomedical scientists (Band 7 BMS x2).  Duties will also include working with consultant pathologists (x5), laboratory manger as well as other managers. 

9. Financial

This post has no specific financial responsibility, however the successful candidate will be expected to work within the departmental financial constrains and with the available resources.

10. Partnerships

Good working relationship is expected with staff at different levels

11. Communications and Relationship

  • General Manager Pathology
  • Pathology Operations Manager
  • Service Managers
  • Departmental Managers
  • Senior BMS
  • BMS
  • MLA & AP

12. General

  • The job requires high levels of dexterity as well as good hand and eye co-ordination to complete the task successfully.
  • Some elements of the job require long periods of sitting or standing up with manual handling issues and hence a good level of physical fitness expected.
  • The post will involve dealing with fresh, semi-fixed or fixed samples of potentially biohazard nature on regular basis. A full health clearance by occupational health is a pre-requisite for this post.

Bank Partners is an employment agency/employment business (as defined by the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003) and is acting on behalf of its client in relation to this vacancy.

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