Exam success for NHS biomedical scientists during pandemic

Photo: Laura MacKay and Madona Maddock (L to R)
Laura MacKay and Madona Maddock (L to R)

Published: 16 June 2020

Two NHS scientists have passed their latest qualifications as they continue their work at Torbay Hospital in the fight against COVID-19.

Laura MacKay and Madona Maddock, who work on the causes and effects of diseases are now also involved in analysing COVID-19 anti-body tests. They work in the department of Clinical Biochemistry at the hospital, run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The two biomedical scientists work with their team on the pathology of disease and as part of their professional development have passed the Institute of Biomedical Science Specialist Diploma in Clinical Biochemistry after more than two-years’ study and are now eligible for promotion.

Daniel Isemede, Trust Senior Clinical Biochemist, said: “I would like to congratulate Laura and Madona on their respective achievements. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication to their profession and their work in our NHS.”

Madona, who lives in Torquay with two children, said: “I am very pleased that I was able to complete my specialist portfolio. I finished all the paper work within two years. It was harder for me to do it, being a mum of two young kids and studying at the same time wasn’t easy at all.

“However, those little kids of mine were also my inspiration to carry on and to achieve this qualification. I would like to be a good example to my children, to show them that education and working hard are both very important in life. I love and enjoy my job as a biomedical scientist and I’m trying my very best to further my career in this field.”

Madona, who enjoys running, cycling and skiing with her family, has always wanted to work in a hospital and be a part of a team helping sick people.

She has found COVID-19 especially hard because of her ethnic background (originally from the Philippines), which potentially increases her risk of being infected: “This pandemic worried me a lot. Being one of an ethnic minority background with higher risk of getting the virus was very scary.

“I was worried not just for myself, but also for the rest of my family. However, I took the risk, went to work and did my job like everyone else. I do hope that this pandemic and the number of virus cases will stop very soon. Because of this pandemic, my specialist assessment was done remotely through the video app Microsoft Team – it was different!”

Laura of Newton Abbot, said: “I really enjoy my job as a biomedical scientist as we are key players in disease diagnosis and monitoring, with 70 per cent of all diagnosis being based on pathology results. We are now involved in the analysis of COVID-19 antibody testing.

“I am so happy to have competed and passed the specialist portfolio – two and a half years of hard work. The portfolio has enabled me to evidence development of specialist knowledge in clinical biochemistry and demonstrates my commitment to continuous professional development.”

Laura, who enjoys home-baking, said she has always been interested in the pathology of diseases and how a diagnosis is made and found studying biomedical sciences at university very rewarding.


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