STAFF at Furness General Hospital gave a young boy a tour of the pathology department so that he could see how his blood tests were processed.

Morgan Venn, 12, from Barrow, went on the tour as part of the national Harvey’s Gang charity initiative.

Harvey’s Gang is a registered charity which encourages and helps children to have an understanding of illness and the necessity to give blood samples.

Harvey Baldwin was an inquisitive young boy who sadly died of complications related to acute myeloid leukaemia.

When Harvey was receiving treatment at Western Sussex NHS Trust (WSHT) he asked if he could see how and where his blood was tested. Malcolm Robinson, Chief Biomedical Scientist at WSHT, heard about Harvey and gave him a guided tour of the Pathology Laboratory.

After Harvey passed away in 2013, Malcolm continued offering tours to children who wanted to be trainee scientists for the day and the charity was formed.

On Morgan’s tour at FGH he was given the lowdown by experts from the pathology department.

Louise Downing explained how the laboratory’s full blood count analyser worked and showed Morgan different blood cells under a microscope.

Susan Brakewell showed Morgan the different components of blood in a test tube and explained the colour changes detected by the analysers to different substances in blood.

Gillian Tyson described how microbiology staff would test for different unwanted bacteria growing in bodily fluids and let Morgan spread a ‘sample’ on an agar plate.

Morgan said he enjoyed all of the tour except having his blood samples taken.

He described the visit as ‘awesome’ and gave the pathology team five out of five stars.

Anyone who would like to enquire about Harvey’s Gang and tours at the pathology department at Furness General Hospital please contact Jill Livingstone, transfusion practitioner at or Rachael Williams, technical services manager, at

The FGH pathology department performs diagnostic investigations that involve examining a range of specimens.

The clinical laboratory helps in the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases and medical conditions.

At the University Hospitals of Morecambe Trust, there are more than 100 staff working in blood sciences, including medical consultants, clinical scientists, technical services managers, quality managers, biomedical scientists, healthcare science assistants, trainees and administrative staff.

In June 2017, the department introduced new rapid serum testing tubes, said to have significantly improved A&E turnaround times and targets have been met since they came in.