Initiative to help children in hospital gets sponsorship

Lloyd Gainsford, IBMS president Alison Geddis, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Marianne Griffiths and Malcolm Robinson at the cheque presentation for Harvey's Gang sponsorship.
Lloyd Gainsford, IBMS president Alison Geddis, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Marianne Griffiths and Malcolm Robinson at the cheque presentation for Harvey's Gang sponsorship.

A hospital initiative to help children with severe illnesses understand what happens with their blood samples has been awarded funds to improve the experience.

Harvey’s Gang was inspired in 2013 when Worthing Hospital chief biomedical scientist Malcolm Robinson was asked by the children’s ward to take six-year-old patient Harvey ‘Buster’ Baldwin, who suffered from leukaemia, for a tour of his laboratory.

Harvey passed away a year later and it was at his funeral that Malcolm became aware just how much the tour had meant to Harvey, when he saw a photo of them together on screen.

To honour Harvey, Malcolm decided to set up more tours for young patients and established Harvey’s Gang as a charity that he would promote to other hospitals throughout the UK.

Now, those who take part in Harvey’s Gang tours will be able to wear special lab coat, thanks to a £5,000 donation from the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

IBMS president Alison Geddis said: “It is not every day that we get the chance to support a cause so worthwhile.

“Thanks to Malcolm’s hard work Harvey’s Gang is now a feature at 40 hospitals across the UK, with more being planned.

“To celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, the aim is for Harvey’s Gang to be in at least 70 hospital laboratories this year.

“I am delighted to share with you all the good news that we have decided to sponsor the lab coats for Harvey’s Gang and are proud to donate £5,000 to this worthy charity.”

Malcolm is a member of the IBMS and works in the blood transfusion department at Western Sussex NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust, which operates both Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s, in Chichester.

Malcolm was recently awarded the Children and Young People’s Care Award at the BBC’s The One Show on May 11.

In April this year he won the Advancing Healthcare Awards (AHA)’ Biomedical Scientist of the Year award, sponsored by Health Services Laboratories, as well as the Overall Winner award.

The Institute of Biomedical Science is the leading professional body for biomedical scientists, support staff and students.Biomedical scientists carry out investigations on tissue and body fluid samples and usually work in laboratories on diagnosis, screening, monitoring and research.