MVH Liaison Health and Safety

RAFT’s Laboratory Manager/Health and Safety Officer Khwaja is responsible for overseeing the running of RAFT’s laboratories, ensuring our scientists are working in a safe environment.

He recently attended Mount Vernon Hospital’s Health and Safety meeting and here are a few snippets.

"This quarterly meeting takes place in the Post Graduate Centre in Mount Vernon Hospital. All Health and Safety representatives for the department attend.  This includes, Nurses, Managers and Health and Safety personnel of Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust. The Chair person is the main Health and Safety advisor for Hillingdon Hospital.  

I look forward to attending this meeting, as it provides an opportunity to gain knowledge of issues regarding health and safety on site.  It is also an avenue for open and frank discussion of the lack or need to improve the service on site, as well as receiving free advice on health and safety.  

The main topics for discussion are: Fire, Asbestos and Health & Safety.  Sometimes other issues of importance are also discussed, i.e. car park issues on site which is big problem on MVH. The duration of the meeting is one hour.”

Where Your Money Goes

Scientific research by nature is expensive and we do all that we can to ensure that yourdonations are wisely and frugally spent. While some money is spent every year on high-cost test equipment, the majority goes to the day-to-day running of the labs. Here are some examples:

It costs£23a month to keep our cells alive with media – the cellular equivalent of food. Without live cells, our research would grind to a halt.

RAFT needs to use around 10 boxes of gloves a month – three different sizes – which costs

£43. The scientists need disposable gloves to prevent cross contamination and infection from occurring. New gloves are needed for each experiment.

Just over

£50is needed to top-up our liquid nitrogen tanks every month. We use this super-cold material to help preserve our important cell lines and tissue culture via cryogenic freezing (think Mr Freeze in Batman!). Cryogenic freezing works by keeping cells at -196°C, a temperature at which all biological activities are stopped. This long term storage is essential in case our scientists require the cells in the future.

One important part of research is the taking of biomaterial used in experiments and preparing the material for microscope slides. This painstaking work requires preparing the material with various substances –

including paraffin wax - and finally shaving the materialdown to a thickness of 1.5 micrometres for viewing. To put this into perspective, an average sheet of A4 paper is over 50 times thicker! The materials needed to run RAFT’s histology department and to make these slides costs around£100a month.

Manufacture of RAFT’s Smart Matrix™ (our artificial skin scaffold for use in full thickness wounds such as burns) costs around £500 a month, this pays for the supplies required to make the 20 matrices, which we need every couple of weeks to carry out regular scientific refinements on the Smart Matrix ™. However, with clinical trials getting closer we’re about to have to start doubling this number, which in turn will double costs