1 Aug, 2016

Steve Kettle, London courier manager

Everything we do is about saving lives which means the people we hire, the strategies we put in place and the processes we follow are all geared towards that.

We have about 100 people in the courier department, covering the entire country, using motorbikes and cycles, bikes trains, regular van couriers and they’ve even on foot. And they carry out around 400,000 jobs a year, taking samples from and between laboratories, hospitals and surgeries.

It takes quite a high degree of planning to ensure everything goes smoothly – all the jobs are recorded, monitors keep us constantly up-to-date with movements of our couriers and if there’s a sudden need for something, the computer system is able to factor that in instantly. It’s like a sophisticated military operation but then it has to be because we’re dealing with time-sensitive samples that need to be handled efficiently.

Which means that everyone who works for us is properly trained, assessed and checked. They know how to carry and deal with samples, and also how to deal with clients. No one goes on the road until they know what our expectations of them are. We impose as many checks as possible to make sure that individuals fit within the system and that the system responds to the needs of the individuals. There’s a great professionalism here but if you pay the best then you expect the best.

It’s also important to be working for a company that you can see is going places and a management team that places great value in what we do. That we’re important. Because it’s all about partnerships and we all care deeply about what we provide.

The Halo building will make our job a whole lot easier because with everything under one roof we will be able to prioritise our services, collect more samples and provide greater speed for our clients.

No single day is the same, we’re constantly learning. For instance, if something goes wrong we have to put in place immediately something to correct that and to find a better way of doing things logistically. So we’re always developing the way we work and perhaps take on practices that we haven’t done in the past. And we will have to adapt as things expand. But we’ve done it before – just a few years ago we were doing between 400-500 jobs a day, now it’s three times that amount and it’ll soon become even greater.

Just as well that we never close.

HSL is a partnership between The Doctors Laboratory, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (the Royal Free London) and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH)

Health Services Laboratories
Health Services Laboratories
Health Services Laboratories