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Breakthrough in Common Cold Research

As we head into the last few months of the year, many of us will find us battling the sniffles, sore throats and headaches that characterise the common cold, but now, US researchers may have found a way to stop the common cold.

Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses – the most common viral infectious agent in humans. There are around 160 different types of rhinoviruses, each mutates so quickly and easily that they rapidly develop resistance to drugs and antibodies.

Though research is not yet ready for trials in people, using a ‘complete protection’ approach, scientists conducted experiments on mice and human lung cells. Instead of trying to attack the virus directly, essential in-cell proteins were targeted. Findings have led to the development of the idea of “host-directed therapy” – which would focus on making the human body inhospitable for the cold viruses.

In terms of a future cure, researchers hope to develop a drug which can temporarily suppress the protein affected by the virus, thus providing protection.

Virologist at the University of Nottingham, Prof Jonathan Ball, commented on the US study, saying that there was an is ‘increasing interest in developing treatments that target these host proteins, because it can potentially overcome virus mutation’. However, Ball also added that ‘viruses are very adaptable and it is conceivable that even a host-targeting treatment might not keep them at bay for long’.

Phlebotomy Training Services

Phlebotomy Training Services work with healthcare professionals, research facilities and private & public healthcare organisations provide a variety of comprehensive phlebotomy training courses helping people become trained in Phlebotomy and Healthcare.

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Who Needs Phlebotomy Training?

12 years ago, when Phlebotomy Training Services was born, Director, Alison, had a slide in her original course the “Basic Phlebotomy Toolkit” that read:

“Blood tests are usually requested by a doctor for diagnosis or for the management of long-term medical conditions”

Blood was traditionally drawn by nurses, but now, we train GP receptionists and Healthcare Assistants to take blood, in order to support their clinical colleagues. In addition to this, Phlebotomy Training Services has also trained medical researchers; dental nurses, physiotherapists, nutritionists and beauticians to produce PRP for use in aesthetic procedures like ‘vampire facials’.

Traditionally, phlebotomy training was provided on the job by employers and while many of today’s practising phlebotomists in practice today are highly skilled and well-trained, others are…less so. With Phlebotomy Training Services’ standardised course, every learner – wherever in the country they are and whenever they train with us – will be trained in the same way by our expert team.

Before writing the course, Alison asked the manufacturers of the blood collection systems themselves how they expected their equipment to be used. As well as the CHS 132 the Skills for Health Guidelines for obtaining venous blood samples, Alison based her book around this.

Many practicing phlebotomists had never inserted a needle into anything before they took their first sample. Here at Phlebotomy Training Services, we don’t think this is the way to put your best foot forward – for the phlebotomist or the patient. We don’t for a second think that on-the-job training is wrong – we think it’s essential – but we know that individuals who train with us acquire a base level of skill and knowledge before taking their first sample. They go on to make better phlebotomists who have a sound repeatable technique and understand why they are doing what they do.

Our phlebotomy training courses will never ask you to take blood from each other, you’ll use pads and prosthetic arms to hone your skills, so that when you come to take your first sample the only thing that gives you pause will be inserting the needle into real skin rather than a prosthetic.

You don’t need any previous experience to train in phlebotomy with us. Our introductory phlebotomy training course, “Understanding and Applying Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques” will give you all of the skills that are required to begin a career in phlebotomy.

There isn’t any “Recognised NHS Training” – whatever some training providers may claim – and no training organisation can give you a “NHS Certificate of Competency” – you can only earn one of those by being supervised in a place of work over a period of time, while you are taking blood.

What we are proud to say is that we have been providing phlebotomy training accredited by One Awards for 12 years and there are thousands of phlebotomists working in doctors surgeries, hospitals (and all sorts of other organisations) up and down the country who hold our certificate

If you would like to find out more about or Basic Phlebotomy Training Course, Advanced Phlebotomy Training Course, or our Diploma in Phlebotomy, contact us today – we’d love to hear from you.

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Reminiscing on Phlebotomy Training Services’ 12th Birthday

The 2nd July was the 183rd day of 2019, the mid-point of the year and the day after Phlebotomy Training Services’ 12th birthday, which our team celebrated by going to Durham to see West Indies V Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup.

During the innings break, we got talking about which of our corporate clients we had worked with in the first half of the year.

We’ve been busy.

January saw us at Loughborough University for the seventh or eighth time, teaching phlebotomy and cannulation. Astonishingly, it was neither bitterly cold nor snowing – which it usually is when Phlebotomy Training Services visit!

In February, we were asked back to Covance contract researchers in Harrogate – a rare “home game” for us. Later in the month, we went up to Edinburgh to work with the Dermal Clinic, an aesthetic clinic who wanted to train their staff to take blood to extract platelet rich plasma (PRP) for use in treatments.

Phlebotomy Training Services work for lots of clients for whom confidentiality is important, but we have one client where it is paramount. As such, we returned to a “facility near Salisbury” for the fourth time in March – it always intrigues us when we work with researchers, but we feel exceptionally lucky to be working with this organisation – the  scientists there are doing amazing things that no one knows about!

Towards the end of March, we had two fascinating days in Warrington teaching phlebotomy and point of care testing techniques to staff at Werfen who are worldwide leaders in in vitro diagnostics (IVD) in the specialties of Hemostasis, (that was where we came in) Acute Care Diagnostics, and Autoimmunity. They make machines that analyse blood and save lives.

April saw us jump on a plane from Manchester Airport and go out to Jersey to teach point of care testing techniques to staff of Family Nursing and Home Care, a Jersey charity providing integrated nursing and home care in the community. We’d never been to Jersey, but we’ll definitely be going back (with work or otherwise!) to have a proper look around – it’s lovely (but the traffic is awful!). No sooner had we got back from Jersey when we were off to Manchester Metropolitan University teaching PhD students and staff members to take blood to further their research projects.

In June, we taught two researchers from Edinburgh Napier University in Northallerton, before returning to Covance again and then driving down to The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Here, our phlebotomy course attendees were doctors who worked with women in ground close combat, training to take blood so that they can assess the impact that phlebotomy training has on them.

It has been a hectic 6 months – but we’ve enjoyed every minute of it, have met and taught some amazing people and wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Appeal for More Male Blood Donors as Figures Fall

According to new NHS figures, the number of men giving blood has fallen by almost a quarter in the last five years – by 24.8% since 2014. Meanwhile, the number of women giving blood has dropped by 6%. These figures follow the pattern in long-term decrease over the past 15 years.

While women make up two thirds of current blood donors, it is men who are more likely to be able to give blood – due to typically higher iron levels. As a result, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is now appealing for new male donors near its 23 permanent centres across the country, as well as at community-based venues. Mike Stredder, director of blood donation at NHSBT, said: “We need more new male donors to address the worrying long-term decline in male donors”

Currently analysing donor recruitment trends to understand the reasons for the decline, NHSBT have also suggested that women are more receptive to social media appeals than men, so are more likely to be encouraged to make donations after viewing or interacting these. In order to ensure the service maintains a safe supply, NHSBT are re-evaluating ways in which they can recruit more male donors.

De-bunking common misconceptions surrounding giving blood may well help to remedy the falling number of donors. For example:

  • Contrary to what 20% of people surveyed by NHSBT believed, blood donors can have tattoos and piercings – as long as at least four months have passed since the date of the tattoo or piercing.
  • The average adult has around 10 pints of blood in their body. Though one blood donation takes roughly one pint of this, the body works quickly and the blood you’ve donated is usually replenished within 24 hours.
  • There are no restrictions for vegetarian and vegan donors, though 3% of people surveyed thought that the typically lower iron levels in a meat-free diet would affect eligibility to donate.

Find out more about your eligibility to give blood on the NHSBT website.

Phlebotomy Training Services are experts in the provision of comprehensive phlebotomy training courses. We offer basic and advanced courses all year round to sectors across the healthcare industry. To find out more, contact us today by calling 01609 751 610 or emailing the team at info@phlebotomytraining.co.uk.

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New Blood Tests Can Help Detect Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s can now be detected from blood tests a new study reveals – a major breakthrough in the diagnosis of such a life affecting disease. Throughout the research – which was collected over several years from over 1,182 patients at different stages with the disease – scientists analysed neurofilament light protein (NFL) in blood samples taken from the group – which also included 401 healthy subjects.

The study found that blood tests can reveal whether there is accelerating nerve cell damage in the brain, suggesting that we can now see if the NFL concentration in a patient’s blood could be able to indicate if a drug affects the loss of nerve cells. Questions have been asked over the years about medicine being used to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disease and how they are affecting the loss of nerve cells when an optimal dosage of the drug has been reached.

If nerve cells in the brain are damaged then NFL protein releases into the cerebrospinal fluid and then into the blood. For years researchers have been trying to test very sensitive methods to identify substances such as NFL in the blood, but none have been as successful as this recent study, published in JAMA Neurology.

Alzheimer’s is a very sad and complex disease that can develop over time. It affects a large number of people in the UK, typically older people. We’re so pleased to see that new studies being carried out could stop this terrible disease in the future.

At Phlebotomy Training Services, we have been working in the health industry for over 20 years in the Northallerton area. Providing opportunities for students to learn the skills of venepuncture and cannulation, we aim to open a number of doors for careers in the research and development of blood – helping studies like this continue into the future to solve some of today’s most tragic diseases. For more information or to book a course, call us on 01609 751610.

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Blood-Carrying Drones Could Save Lives in Rural UK

Unmanned drones could soon be used to transport much-needed blood, medicine and medical equipment to patients in some of the more far-flung areas of the UK, according to a report by the BBC.

Using drones to deliver blood and hospital medicine could provide a “reliable and low-cost” solution for patients in rural Wales, say researchers at Aberystwyth University.  Depending on their findings, further research could be carried out to assess the viability of using drones to deliver samples and medical equipment such as defibrillators. As well as providing better healthcare coverage to isolated areas, drones could mean that patients are able to stay at home rather than relying on hospitals, providing welcome respite to hospital staff.

January 2018’s Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales recommended that the country “should maximise the benefits of technology and innovation” in order to “deliver more effective and efficient care”. Hywel Da University Health Board’s Matthew Willis said that “there is nothing stopping us from using this technology and these drones to deliver this care.”

The public view of drones went from handy gadget to severe nuisance in December last year, when around 1,000 flights were either cancelled or diverted and some 140,000 passengers were affected following repeated drone sightings at Gatwick Airport. The researchers say that focus groups will be used to allay any “uncertainty or concerns” surrounding the potential role of drones in society.

Medical equipment is already delivered via drones in some of the world’s more remote regions, where poor infrastructure can lead to fatal delays. Hospitals in Rwanda often have to wait multiple days for vital supplies to arrive – the use of drones can cut the wait to around 20 minutes. As the first educationally-accredited phlebotomy training company in the UK, Phlebotomy Training Services are experts in the provision of comprehensive phlebotomy training courses. We offer basic and advanced courses all year round to sectors across the healthcare industry. To find out more, contact us today by calling 01609 751 610 or emailing the team at info@phlebotomytraining.co.uk.

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Trial Launched to Reduce Stroke Rate

A new trial has been launched in East Anglia which aims to detect a heart condition which is known to increase the chances of having a stroke 5-fold.

The test will initially be carried out on patients over 65 who suffer from atrial fibrillation. A symptom of AF is an irregular heartbeat and often goes undiagnosed. If you suffer from AF then you stand a much higher chance of having a stroke. As well as this, AF is linked to heart attacks and premature deaths from other causes.

AF affects 10% of people over 65 but does not necessarily show symptoms. 10% of stroke victims were unaware they had AF.

Initially there is a small trial being carried out in East Anglia to determine the feasibility of carrying out the trial on a much larger scale due to the potential number of sufferers. The trial is starting in 12 practices and the aim will be to eventually scale it up to 120,00 patients in 300 practices.

Over the next 5 years the plan is to measure the screenings and treatments to try and positively effect people’s health which then leads to a reduction in the number of strokes.

PTS offer phlebotomy training to students who often then go on to work for health and medical organisations. To find out more or to book your place on one of our courses simply call us on 01609 751 610 or contact us here.

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A Bit About the ACLT

It is a little known fact that race is a key factor in blood and marrow donation. In the UK, white people have a 90% chance of finding both a blood and marrow donor should the need arise, but sadly the same cannot be said for the Asian or black community. If you are black and in the UK then you only have a 20% chance of finding a compatible marrow donation, despite black people being 3 times more likely to develop kidney issues. It is similar if you are Asian: out of 1.4 million blood donors registered on the NHS only 1.6% are Asian. The charity ACLT are working toward promoting blood and bone marrow donations so that people with blood cancer have more hope or survival. PTS are huge advocates of this charity, whom you can learn more about by watching the below video.

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The Use of PRP Therapy in Dentistry

Within the world of dentistry, research is always being conducted to find new, innovative ways to ease healing processes for patients. When it comes to implants and dental surgeries, clients can feel apprehensive about the aftermath. This is why it’s essential to consider therapies that can speed up the healing process and make it a more comfortable experience.

A long term goal of research was to find a treatment that reduced bleeding and encouraged rapid soft-tissue healing. During the wound healing process, platelets are among the first cells to respond. This is critical to the initiation of healing.

The major effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are derived from PDGF, which has been highlighted as an essential protein for tissue healing. This treatment is commonly used within dentistry following implants and tooth extractions and is mostly offered to elderly patients as they are at higher risk of diseases and infections following a procedure.

Used in a gel formulation, PRP Treatment is created by extracting blood from a patient and separating healthy platelets and pairing them with thrombin and calcium chloride. The mixture includes a high concentration of platelets and a native concentration of fibrinogen.

When offering dental procedures, patient after-care should always be a priority. Making your patient feel comfortable throughout the process is essential as this will not only make it an easier experience for them, but for you, as a dentist too.

Phlebotomy Training Services offer certifications in the extraction of blood, which can further your career in the medical field. Our courses offer insight into the world of phlebotomy, highlighting the doors it can open for you in the future.

If you’d like to book a course, contact us today on 01609 751610 or click here.

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Where Does Blood End Up?

We know that this might be a slightly gruesome introduction, but blood really does end up everywhere. Its uses are far reaching and has numerous benefits. Obviously, one of the most common uses for blood is life saving transfusions. According to the NHS Blood Transfusion Service, in 2014:

  • 67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
  • 27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
  • 6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth

However, this is far from the only place people use blood.

A few years ago, an architectural student found that, after being treated with various chemicals, blood can be used to make bricks. After adding an anticoagulant and some antibacterial chemicals, after being mixed with sand and baked for an hour the blood thickens, harden and produces a perfectly functional brick. He postulated that this could be a replacement for mud bricks in developing countries in which sand is plentiful and cattle blood is often wasted.

Maybe not human blood, but the Horseshoe Crab has some very interesting blood. One aspect is that it is bright blue – the other is that is has the ability to bind to, and clot any bacterial cells it comes up against, rendering them ineffective. Scientists are currently trying to find a way to replicate this synthetically so it can be used to treat people safely.

The use for blood in aesthetic treatments is also on the rise. A large number of beauty clinics are beginning to offer what are known as ‘vampire facials’. during a vampire facial you have your blood taken, before being span in a centrifugal device which separates the PRP (platelet rich plasma). This PRP is full of growth cells and is then injected back into your skin, rejuvenating it.

A similar process is also used in dentistry, when the PRP is inject post treatment/surgery in order to speed up the recovery process, especially in aging patients.

Of course, to be able to draw the blood in the first instance requires phlebotomy skills. Thankfully, Phlebotomy training services offer a range of corporate training courses, in which we can teach staff how to safely and effectively withdraw blood from patients and clients.

To find out more about our corporate courses just call us on 01609 751 610 or contact us here.