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Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust


Job Title:

Medical Laboratory Assistant


Band 3




Microbiology Service


RSCH or PRH as agreed with post holder



Accountable to:

1. Head Biomedical Scientist

Reporting to:

2. Senior Specialist BMS/Section Manager

The Clinical Microbiology service covers Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS
Trust, local General Practitioners through Primary Care Trusts, and a specialist service to
other NHS Trusts in Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. It holds accreditation with Clinical Pathology
Accreditation UK Ltd, and as approved by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences as a training
The Clinical Microbiology service is divided into Clinical Bacteriology, Clinical Virology, and
a Food, Water and Environmental department. The work of each department is organised
into work sections and then into work areas or (benches) according to the types of
specimen and the investigations performed. The Clinical Bacteriology department operates
at the Trusts sites at RSCH, Brighton and PRH, Haywards Heath. The post-holder will be
based at one site but will be required to work at the other site by agreement.
The diagnostic work of the department includes examination of urine, faeces, sputum, pus,
blood and other fluids and tissues. Investigations include microscopy and culture for
bacteria and fungi; Serological assays for HIV, Hepatitis B and other viral and infectious
diseases; and identification of lice, fleas and other parasites. In addition the department
participates in mandatory surveillance schemes for MRSA and other healthcare associated
infections, infection control, and handles specimens that may be involved in medico-legal
proceedings. The departments operate at a minimum of containment Level 2, and have
Containment level 3 facilities for work with those agents in Hazard Group 3.

Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014

The Microbiology service operates a 24hours/day and seven days/week. Routine opening
hours are from 8.30 17.00 Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours some routine cover
is provided by a shift arrangement, at all other times an emergency on-call service
operates. The post holders will be expected to participate in shift arrangement after
satisfying competency assessment.
The MLA works as part of a team including Biomedical Scientists and other support staff,
generally under indirect supervision. Duties include data entry; manual, semi-automated
and automated technical procedures; storekeeping; stock control; and laboratory waste


Scientific & analytical
o Undertakes work according to Standard Operating Procedures.
o Undertakes routine maintenance and troubleshooting of general laboratory equipment.
o Undertakes preparatory work to support complex manual and automated analytical
o Checks all samples before processing for identification, status and suitability for
diagnostic investigations
o Undertakes complex manual, semi-automated and automated procedures under indirect
o Prepares samples for sending to external reference laboratories.
o Prepares reagents, stock solutions and laboratory disinfectants as directed.
o Processes laboratory waste and ensures its safe disposal as required.
Diagnostic & interpretive
o Prioritising work according to urgency of requests and investigations.
o Reports anomalies to senior staff according to SOPs.
o Participates in BSUH NHS Trust appraisal scheme and undertakes appraisee training.
Communication & liaison
o Maintains awareness of changes and developments within the section/department.
o Receives and handles a wide range of enquiries, in person or by telephone, including
matters of a confidential or a sensitive nature.
o Basic communication with patients and staff ensuring compliance with confidentiality
rules, data protection act etc.
o Issues results in accordance with departmental SOPs.
o Attends meetings as directed
Education & training
o Participates in the induction of new and junior staff as directed.
o Responsible for own personal development.
o Attends courses as directed
o Attends all statutory and mandatory training courses as directed.
Information management & technology
Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014

o Performs data entry, including patient information and investigation requests, according
to SOPs and policies to ensure high quality data, thus maintaining the integrity and
accuracy of laboratory databases. Recognises data quality problems and brings to
the attention of senior staff.
o Reports any IT problems to senior staff.
o Enters self generated results into the LIMS
o Complies with local and national policies for the safe, secure and confidential
processing and storage of patient and other laboratory information.
Financial & resource management
o Uses resources efficiently and cost effectively.
o Maintain stock control by reporting low levels of supplies to ensure continuing service.
o Ensure that stocks are stored appropriately.
Clinical audit and quality management
o Participates in the quality management system
Health & safety
o Works in a safe manner in compliance with H&S policies.
o Exercises a duty of care towards colleagues, visitors and patients, maintains a safe
working environment
o Reports hazards and defects to senior staff.
o Maintains up to date knowledge regarding use of display screen equipment and
personal protective equipment, manual handling and fire safety through attendance at
mandatory and statutory training courses.
o Understands COSHH and risk assessment documentation and works within defined
control measures at all times.
o Operates within trust policies for waste disposal especially clinical waste disposal.
o Operates within the clinical incident reporting system.

The post-holder is required to participate in the Trust appraisal process and work
towards meeting identified development needs.
The post-holder is required to demonstrate on-going continuous professional
At no time should the post-holder work outside their defined level of competence. Any
concerns should be raised immediately with the line manager/supervisor.


The post-holder has a responsibility to themselves and others in relation to managing risk,
health and safety and will be required to work within the policies and procedures laid down
by the Trust.


Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014

This job description is not exhaustive but details the main duties and responsibilities of the
Any changes will be discussed and agreed with the post-holder. This job description will
be reviewed annually at appraisal and at other times to reflect changes and developments
in service requirements.

As an employee of this Trust you may gain privileged knowledge of a highly confidential
nature relating to private affairs, diagnosis and treatment of patients, information affecting
members of the public, personal matters concerning staff, commercial confidences of third
parties, and details of items under consideration by this Trust. Such information should not
be divulged or passed to any unauthorised person or persons, and the requirements of the
Trusts Code of Conduct for Employees in Respect of Confidentiality, a copy of which is
available from your Head of Department, must be adhered to with particular regard to the
responsibilities of individuals and the Trust under appropriate legislation, notably the Data
Protection Act. Failure to comply with this requirement may constitute gross
misconduct under the Trusts Disciplinary Policy which may lead to summary
Agreed by:
Signed.. Date .
(Job holder)
Signed.. Date .
(Line manager/supervisor)
Date of next review:



Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014


(see A Guide To Writing /Updating Job
GCSE C or above in Maths
and English.

Registration (where
Knowledge & Experience
Team working.
Good spoken & written
Legible writing.
Confident phone manner.

Analytical/ judgmental

Provides & receives routine

information orally, in writing &
Able to fault find re tests
requested, sample types and
patient identification data.

Planning/ organisational

Recognises the boundaries

of the role and the actions to
be taken when outside of
Able to plan own workload.
Able to work on own initiative
within the boundaries of the


Good time management

Basic IT skills for data entry
for demographic, request &
result entry on to Pathology
Able to adapt to new systems
/work practices.
Keyboard, e-mail, Intranet,

Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014


Responsibilities for
patient care

Dexterity, hand-eye coordination, keyboard

accuracy, manipulation of
analytical equipment,
Able to receive and assist
patients visiting the
Interest in patient welfare.


Provides clinical technical

service to healthcare
Able to stand for long periods
of time at machines in
restricted area.
(Physically fit. Neat, tidy, well
presented. Reliable.)



Able to store/utilise various

types of stock weighing up to
25kg per container on a daily
basis (<20 mins).
Able to concentrate on
accurate data entry for
prolonged periods (>2 hours)
Able to concentrate for
extended periods when
interrupted on a frequent
Able to cope occasionally
with clinical information of a
distressing nature.

Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014

Working conditions

Able to regularly cope with

unpleasant odours from
samples and chemicals.
Able to cope with occasional
exposure to chemical
Able to deal with frequent
exposure to blood, tissue,
gastric contents, urine and
faeces for analysis in the
Able to cope with using VDU
equipment more or less
continuously on most days.
Able to work flexible,
additional and unsocial


Job Reference: 379-NOV213-14

Closing Date: 20 November 2014