Lab Tours Blog

We love sharing the stories from Harvey's Lab Tours, read about the latest tours here

Esme's Harvey's Lab Tour at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary

Esme's tour

On Thursday 4th April, we welcomed Esme and her parents to the Blood Science Department for a Harvey's Lab Tour.

Esme was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and receives monthly infusions of Infliximab.

Both Esme and her parents were curious to know where Esme's blood samples went and how they were analysed. Joined by paediatric nurse, Sharron McGarva, we kicked off the tour.

As Esme had received her infusion the day before the tour, we had the opportunity to capture a film of her blood sample under the microscope. This special moment fascinated Esme and left her parents equally impressed!

Throughout the tour, we took part in activities like eye spy in the lab, conducted colour-changing experiments, and talked about plasma and blood products in transfusion medicine.

Esme and her family loved the experience, and it really helped them understand the processes involved when a sample is received in the lab. Esme also became the first child to receive Harvey the Bear, a very special addition to her collection!


SYNLAB newsletter - Our Experience of Hosting a Harvey’s Gang Tour for Two Oncology Patients

SYNLAB Harveys tour

Charlie had seen photos from Harvey’s Gang tours at lots of labs around the country over the years but had never had the chance to be involved. When Charlie started working for SPS, Matt Barnett told me how he had organised several tours at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton but how unfortunately they had to stop during the COVID pandemic. Jane Horn, who is the play specialist for the Trust, approached the Blood Sciences team last year to see if we would be able to start these tours again and we thought this would be an excellent idea.

Download the newsletter to read more>>


Joshua's Harvey's Lab Tour at Antrim Area Hospital

Joshuas tour

I would like to take this opportunity to give a feedback of my boys' visit to Antrim Area Hospital's laboratory through Harvey's Lab Tours initiative. 

To start with, talking to Stephanie Hill (Head of Blood Transfusion) was such a pleasure, and Stephanie was so prompt and welcoming from the first email and phone call up to post our visit. 

During the visit to Antrim Area Hospital's laboratory myself, Nathan and Joshua were met by lovely Carole Henry, Head of Haematology, Dr Aaron Niblock (Consultant Haematologist) and Dr Sally Elsir. They made my boys and myself feel very welcome, allowing even some time for the kids to get used to being there before we were taken to the lab.

Lovely tea, coffee and treats were awaiting us, as well as the goodies that Harvey's Gang had sent, thank you for that very much. Other staff I would like to mention are: John who showed us a blood sample and making a blood film, Sharon who showed us the films on the microscope and Kenzi who showed us how to determine the blood groups, they were all great with explaining, showing and talking to us. We were so well looked after and I felt so honoured to have had such a nice experience all over.

The boys learned so much about what happens to their bloods and I got to ask "a few" (many) questions myself, to which there was also a quick and incredible reply to every question and such kindness in responding and showing us around.

Joshua took notes in his little red book, which he started reading when we entered our car to make our way back home. Nathan came back also recapping some of what he had just learned, this visit has opened discussions around bloods, thalassemia (which they both have a trait), anatomy, working in a lab and maybe we will have a bio scientist in a few years ??.

It also showed the boys the importance and the reason as to why they have to have bloods taken, also what happens to it afterwards, it was an enlightening afternoon.

I am so thankful to everyone involved and mentioned above, I hope I haven't forgotten anyone.

Kindest regards,

Rebeka, Nathan and Joshua

Harvey's Gang Lab Tour at Addenbrookes
Introducing Abigail – our newest Junior Biomedical Scientist graduate!

Abigail's tour

It was such a special experience. Abigail loved her tour so much. She's thinking of working in a lab when she's older!

Alissa, Abigail's Mum

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming six year old Abigail and her Mum to the Blood Sciences and Transfusion Laboratories at Cambridge University Hospital.

Abigail first got kitted out in her Harvey’s Gang Lab coat and ID badge before embarking on her tour, following the route her blood samples might take.

Our journey started in specimen reception where we explored different types of samples and the ways we can receive samples to the Lab. We then visited the Blood Sciences Laboratory where Ruby from Biochemistry explained the route samples can take around our track system before taking a look at a Siemens Atellica analyser. Gemma from Haematology showed Abigail the different components which make up our blood before taking her through to the morphology suite.

Here, Rod showed Abigail some unusual blood films down the microscope, including sickle cells and even one which contained a worm! I think this was Abigail’s favourite part – she was completely un-phased by the worm!

Finally we visited the Transfusion Laboratory where Abigail was shown the fridges containing the blood products and the blood grouping machines. She instantly spotted the penguin mascots lined up along the instruments and was keen for a photo opportunity with Olivia (Abigail’s doll).

The visit from Abigail and her Mum brought a smile to so many faces as we toured the Lab and was a welcome reminder of the patients and families at the other end of each samples. It was a real pleasure showing what we get up to the in Lab and I hope we’ve convinced Abigail being a Scientist is a great career choice in the future!

Georgette Glover, Senior Biomedical Scientist 

Harvey's Gang poem

We were sent this lovely poem from Specialist Biomedical Scientist Fern Meagre at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, its all about what children can expect on their Harvey's Gang tour.

Harvey's Gang poem

Download the poster here>>

Finn's tour at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary - Department of Blood Science

Finns tour

We welcomed Finn to our Blood science lab on Sunday 24th September. Finn came on the tour with his mum Amy, dad Keith and his nurse Eilidh. Finn was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in April 2023 and has monthly infusions and regular blood taken. Eilidh his nurse has been helping Finn get used to his treatment  and has built up a trusting relationship with him and his family.

Well being Monkey also joined us on his first ever Harvey's Gang tour and we think he had lots of fun. Finn loved his lab coat and goodie bag and was really excited to send his Harvey's Gang duck (which he named Thunder) to Childrens ward in the pod system. We crossed our fingers and luckily his duck was returned with a lovely message and a present for Finn!

In Blood bank and Haematology, he liked looking down the microscope, handling the platelet and blood bags and also guessing what our DIY blood sample was made of. Luckily, he has the recipe in his goodie bag to make at home.

In Biochemistry he loved all the analysers with their robotic probes and enjoyed putting his 'zombie' blood he made, during his colour reaction experiment, on our 612 for aliquoting. Mum, Dad and Eilidh thought the tour was brilliant and it really opened their eyes as to what happens in the Labs.

Finn would love to come back and see his own blood down the microscope so after his next appointment he will come back and see us. Great day had by all.

Gayle Johnstone, Specialist Biomedical Scientist


Jessica and Amalie's tour at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary - Department of Blood Science

Jessica and Amalie's tour

We welcomed Jessica and Amalie to our Blood science lab on 30/8/23. Jessica has hypothyroidism and Amalie has Wilson's disease. Amalie has had a liver transplant due to her Wilson's disease and like Jessica regularly takes medication everyday. Both girls attended with their mums who also found it fascinating and now they can picture where their daughters blood samples go. 

During the tour the girls were very interested in Biochemistry as I explained that the majority of their blood tests would be processed through that part of the blood science lab. We had fun doing a science ISPY around the lab, looking down the microscope at blood films, learning about blood types and also doing colour reaction experiments. I don't think they all realised how many analysers we require in the lab for all the sample processing!

The tour helped the girls to envisage where their samples go and how they are processed. We really hope it will help both Jessica and Amalie in the future with regard to their bloods being checked and any future treatment they may need. Lots of fun had by all!

Gayle Johnstone, Specialist Biomedical Scientist

Lucianos' tour at Broomfield Hospital Blood Sciences Department

Lucianos tour
The Blood Sciences Team at Broomfield Hospital were happy to host a Harvey’s Gang visit for a local youngster and his family on Friday.

They were given a tour of the Reception, Biochemistry and Haematology laboratories, taking a look at what happens to the blood samples and getting up close to the analysers to see them working. They were able to centrifuge some samples to see how the blood separates prior to analysis, and look down a microscope to see the different cells and parasites in the blood. They also visited the phlebotomy department and sat in the chair where they would sit for having their blood taken.

The family reported back how much the visit was enjoyed, and that their son was feeling much more positive about his blood test now.

Leslie Cybichowski, Training and Health & Safety Lead

Following the tour Luciano's Dad wrote:

Luciano 2I reached out to Harvey’s Gang as my child with ASD had sensory issues with needles and blood, but knew he really needed the test.

After almost losing hope , I found Harvey’s Gang and the IBMS were so patient and understanding. They help to find a local hospital and pre sent their Superlab comics that had our son excited to go.

On the day, we met Lesley at Broomfield Hospital for the tour and even got to bring our daughter along. It was so educational and eye opening as our child is also an aspiring scientist. He is now really confident and positive on booking his blood test and he knows his blood is in safe care of top level scientists and professional health care people


Austin's tour at Kingston Hospital Blood Sciences Department

Austins tour

In May, Harvey's Gang was contacted by a patient's mum who wanted her son Austin to attend a tour at his local hospital laboratory to understand what was happening to his sister's blood tests.

At the time, no Harvey's Gang tours were running at Kingston Hospital. But after reaching out to IBMS members there, we were able to organise a tour, as the laboratory manager David McIntyre and his team were happy to help.

Following the tour mum, Celine, wrote:

I just wanted to say THANK YOU all so much for organising such a fantastic lab tour for Austin last week!

What can I say it was just absolutely brilliant! Austin was totally captivated and is still talking about it! It was such a great way of demonstrating to us all what happens to Mabel’s bloods when they are taken and how the scientists do the different tests. He loved watching the machines at work and was super excited to have been able to help process some of the tests himself and use the microscope.

I know that you haven’t run these tours before but from our perspective I would say it was a great success and would definitely recommend it for other families with children being treated at the hospital. 

I just also wanted to say a massive thanks to Harvey’s Gang and IBMS for your roles in getting this set up. It’s been a scary and confusing time for us all and this put such a massive smile on Austin’s face which has been amazing to see. 
Jayden's tour at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary Blood Sciences department 

Jaydens Tour

Gayle Johnstone writes: 

Finally, after a long wait due to covid we were able to host our next Harvey's Gang tour at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary (DGRI) in the Blood Sciences department. We welcomed Jayden, his sister Emmi-Leah and mum, dad, Laura and Patrick. Jayden’s paediatric nurse Ava attended too.  

Jayden has Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and receives monthly infusions for his treatment, as well as regular blood work. Jayden and Emmi were delighted with their lab coats and goodie bags!

As we toured the lab, I explained how we receive samples, how and where they are processed and turn around times for tests. They had fun filling in their I Spy activity sheets, doing colour changing experiments and looking down the microscope. The tour helped Jayden understand all the processes involved and he can now envisage where his bloods go.

His mum Laura said: 


The tour has helped not only Jayden but all of us have a far better understanding of the process, which I’m certain will help us in the future

We can’t wait to continue Harvey’s gang tours at DGRI!