Salisbury Foundation Trust

Chief People Officer Melanie Whitfield Goes Back to the Floor

Each of our seven Directors is spending time shadowing staff in services across the hospital as part of ‘Executive back to the floor’ sessions. They're also blogging about their visits. This blog is from our new Chief People Officer, Melanie Whitfield. She and Nick Beasley, Head of Organisational Development & Leadership, met Jenny Baillie, Laboratory Manager in Histopathology and her team.

We received a warm welcome from the team who allowed us to look over their shoulders as they performed a series of skilled tasks, giving us a brief oversight of a specimen’s journey through the laboratory which takes approximately three to four days.

The Histopathology Department processes 23,000 specimens per year for the Trust and surrounding GP surgeries. The small team is made up of five Pathologists, five scientists, three trainee scientists, seven medical lab assistants and five admin staff.

We spoke with fellow new starter Dr Angshuman Rick Panigrahi, Consultant Histopathologist, who joined us from Buckinghamshire, a great addition to the Pathologist Team; Kylie Allen and Nabihah Khan, two trainee Biomedical Scientists, who have joined to complete the IBMS registration portfolio to become registered Biomedical Scientists and briefly to Paul Fisher, associate practitioner. Paul started in Histology 10 years ago as a medical laboratory assistant and is now completing a distance learning Biomedical Science degree to enable him to make the next step towards becoming a registered Biomedical Scientist. Such commitment - we wish them well with their ongoing training.

We heard about the structured, supportive approach to training, how ideas for improvement are encouraged and the general sense of a high performing team with many years’ service between them, including Rachel Thomas, Medical Laboratory Assistant, who has worked with the team for just over 30 years.

Histology receives tissue specimens ranging from small biopsies to large organ resections and limbs. They have recently had a refresh of new laboratory equipment, are preparing to implement a new laboratory information management system, and are planning to introduce digital pathology, which will help remove delays caused by moving around histology slides for reporting.

One area Nick and I saw was OSNA. This is where the team analyses the lymph nodes from breast cancer patients intraoperatively to provide a result for the surgeon that enables them to make the decision regarding additional treatment whilst in theatre. Jenny describes this as a gold standard service for the Breast Team and patients involved. The team’s commitment to rigorous accuracy and service was evident, and with new instruments in a busy immunohistochemistry section the team are keen to expand their in-house offer and help reduce turnaround in some areas.

With thanks to Jenny and the team for allowing us a brief but fascinating insight into their work.


04 November 2021

Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

Person Centred & Safe





Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital, Odstock Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8BJ
T: 01722 336262 E:
© 2024 Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Trust Values