Human Medicine:

Pathology First Quality Team

Published: 12th November 2020

A Day in the Life of the Pathology First Quality Team: Kim Aston Quality Manager and Katie Stewart-Byrne

Did you know both Katie and Kim are experienced in Pathology? Katie comes from a Specimen Reception and IT background with 15 years’ experience and Kim worked in Haematology and Transfusion as a BMS. She has 42 years’ experience.

Kim explains: “Katie and I try to educate other staff in terms of Quality and take them on the “journey” with us. This way they understand why Quality is so important and do it as a matter of course – not just because they have to. In essence we try to help everyone with Quality Improvement.

It’s difficult to describe a typical day because we are responsible for so many aspects of the service. From auditing to identify previously undetected non-conformities to being the point of contact for UKAS and CQC, we do a lot of varied work. We essentially maintain the Quality Management System, preparing and presenting QMS compliance each month by department and activity. We run Quality training workshops for such things as Audit and Root Cause Analysis. We are responsible for Q-pulse support, managing the system including upgrades and training so everyone understands how to use it.

Incident management is probably the aspect of our roles people are most familiar with. We monitor incidents and trend them for commonality. We check they are being investigated promptly and appropriately.

Maintaining the Risk Register and escalating high risks to the Board and Trust and ensuring that Risks are scored appropriately is also something we manage. We work with the Trust on Governance to ensure there is transparency. We are also part of the National Quality Managers forum, meeting quarterly to enable a consistent approach to quality and QMS compliance.

Lastly, we manage the courier routes between all the sites and collection points. We like to ensure Pathology First hits all the Quality standards it has to hit. This is a great service and it’s wonderful seeing it go from strength to strength.”

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