Braving the cold for biomedical science

Braving the cold for biomedical science
2 March 2018
How biomedical science staff have coped with the ‘Beast from the East’

Termed the ‘Beast from the East’, the UK has been affected throughout the week by serious blizzards and freezing temperatures with up to 19 inches of snow expected in the UK.

This severe weather has caused thousands of transportation delays and cancellations. In some areas of Scotland red warnings have been issued, warning people to stay inside for danger of loss of life. The Army has been called in to help transport 200 NHS staff to work in Edinburgh.

Despite this, stories that have come to light about the hidden heroes who braved the conditions to deliver essential pathology services to hospitals and healthcare companies across the UK. We spoke with some of our members on how they got to work.

IBMS Member Valerie Bocker, a Specialist Biomedical Scientist in the haematology department at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (pictured above) said,

“Our group did everything they could to get to work yesterday. Myself and several others walked several miles in tough conditions to get here - our Healthcare Science Manager even walked from Prestonpans to Fort Kinnaird, where she was picked up by a group coming in by car from East Lothian.
Anyone with a car helped by taking as many as they could to and from the lab and as you are aware we also had private companies helping as much as they could. A big shout out goes to those colleagues who covered extra shifts, including night shifts.

This is a very demanding job so for us to struggle for hours to even get here and then provide our service on top of that, with a skeleton crew, we think we have done ourselves proud!!”

Dr Mairead MacLennan,  Professional Manager (Quality & Training) of the department of Medical Microbiology & Infection Control at North Laboratory Victoria Hospital  said, 

"Here is a photo of our Microbiology  Biomedical Science 'Fife Snow Warriors' in Kirkcaldy!
 Fife snow warriors
We have most of our staff snowed in unable to get to work from across the County but those who could trudge to work in knee to thigh deep snow and a few who drive tank like vehicles braved the elements to ensure we kept the laboratory service  fully operational to ensure the Victoria Hospital & GPs can meet the essential needs of Fife patients. 
We are proud of you all! One member of staff called out on Thursday evening to perform a CSF examination trudged to the lab for almost an hour there and back."

Former IBMS member Sarah Price said, “I worked until 21:30 tonight, leaving two hardworking colleagues manning the night shift. The drive home was treacherous.”

Appreciating unsung heroes                                          

A number of people shared their gratitude on social media for the hardworking biomedical sciences staff.

Neuropathologist Dr Samar Bemouni tweeted,

Peter Taylor said, 

IBMS Member Giuseppe Romano posted, 

Susan Kirtley commented, 

Margaret Drury tweeted,

Jude Goddard commented,


Thank you to all the biomedical sciences staff who were able to make it into work in spite of the severe weather.

Have a story to share? Send your photos and stories to





Back to news listing