President's welcome

A message from IBMS President Joanna Andrew

Joanna Andrew website welcome

As the newly elected President of the IBMS, I am immensely proud of the trust that our Council members have placed in me and excited to lead our organisation to new heights - deepening its recognition as the leading professional body in biomedical science.

My career began in August 1990 with a placement in the Biochemistry Department at St Albans City Hospital. When I first walked in I had absolutely no idea what a hospital laboratory did but by the end of my placement I knew that this was the profession for me.

I graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 1992 and began my career as a Medical Laboratory Assistant at the Yorkshire Clinic, before working as a Biomedical Scientist in three different hospital laboratories: the Chemical Pathology and Immunology department at Leeds General Infirmary, the Biochemistry department at the Royal County Hospital in Winchester and the Biochemistry department at York Hospital.

Whilst working in York, I successfully progressed through the career grades to my current role as Network Lead for Blood Sciences for the Scarborough, Hull, and York Pathology Service (SHYPS).

One of the most rewarding times of my career was when I was the training officer for the department. This was in the early 2000s when the registration and specialist portfolios were new. I enjoyed supporting trainees and biomedical scientists to gain their qualifications and now feel so proud that many of the people I trained are in senior roles both in my department and across the country.

It was also during this time that I became more closely involved with the work of the IBMS: firstly, as a portfolio assessor, then as an employer representative for degree accreditations. Later, I joined the clinical chemistry Specialist Advisory Panel and was then elected to Council. I am also Chair of the Yorkshire Region and a member of the East Yorkshire Branch.

Our workforce will be at the heart of my presidency. In line with the IBMS five-year strategy, I will ensure we continue to develop and increase advanced roles (particularly in haematology and microbiology), look at the further development of new roles for biomedical scientists in IT, seek protected time for training roles (in the way we have quality management roles), and ensure that we can retain staff in the profession. I also want to make sure we use the delivery of the IBMS Long Term Biomedical Scientist Workforce plan to offer more to those in the middle and at the end of their careers.

I will focus on our membership, and what services we can offer that will make people want to join. When I was a student, I liked the idea that there was a ‘club’ with a magazine that you could be a part of. But what enthuses the graduates of today and how we can ensure they want to become members and want to stay? I intend to find out.

I am looking forward to the first IBMS Awards, which will give our members the opportunity to be recognised for the incredible work they do. I strongly believe in supporting our members to achieve the success they deserve in their careers, and then recognising and celebrating their achievements. 

Visibility of the profession is so important, and I hope to continue the fabulous work done in particular by our most recent presidents in raising the profile of our profession. I will ensure we work across the four nations to share learning and development opportunities and be seen for the amazing profession we are.

Joanna Andrew | Network Lead for Blood Sciences | Scarborough, Hull, York Pathology Service - SHYPS