Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars

Barbara Sullivan

This nomination comes with the support and thanks from staff who have had the privilege of working above, alongside and below this nominee over the spectrum of her career.  Her diligence, enthusiasm and passion for the best possible patient care through her work and the work of her colleagues has been an inspiration and encouragement to all. This nomination is a token of thanks in acknowledging the fantastic role model she is.

In honour of the 70 year anniversary it seems fitting to celebrate Barbara’s witness and involvement with the NHS over more than 40 years.  Her career has witnessed enormous leaps in medical scientific development and progress. She developed professionally alongside rapid changes, repeatedly demonstrating the ability to translate new scientific discoveries into improving quality of care and patient services.

Barbara entered the medical scientific field at 18 via the old OND and HNC pathway in Medical Science, rapidly excelling and achieving a Commendatory Special Fellowship in Haematology FIRST time at only 23 years old.  Her attention to detail, commitment to quality, and personal interest in her field led her to drive the training of new scientists and encourage experienced scientists to excel in areas of new science such as Immunophenotyping.  By the mid 1990’s the Immunology department in Neath Hospital was a widely recognised centre of excellence.

The needs and quality of care for the patient is always foremost in Barbara’s motives and she repeatedly forges strong working relationships with key clinical areas utilising new scientific processes with clinical care.  In all her work she strives for excellence, training her staff to adopt the same principle of ‘Patient first’.  Her approachable and nurturing character combined with her inexhaustible knowledge and enthusiasm has been emulated and expanded over the years and a legacy of her professionalism can be seen through the generations of scientists now working within the laboratory.

In the early 2000’s Barbara took on her current role as Blood Bank Manager for ABMU.  Over the next 10 years Barbara now faced the challenges of driving the department through the rocky terrain of new statutory regulations.  Successful MHRA inspections stood her in a good position to steer Transfusion through the 2017 ISO Quality Inspections - which make even the hardiest knees shake!  Her ability to meet problems and challenges head on and actively work on finding the correct solutions for all involved whilst not allowing compromise of service has been invaluable to the patient and service provision. 

Her career has seen huge changes in laboratory practice with the advent of new analysers and scientific discoveries applicable to diagnostic and life-saving processes.  Transfer into the electronic era has seen Barbara join the All Wales Laboratory Information Management implementation Project as a National Service lead. Her direct involvement in writing test scripts sees ABMU HB as the very first implementers of the Blood transfusion electronic information module in Wales.

Going above and beyond her daily role, Barbara is always involved with some other professional project contributing towards the safety and care of the patient. A few include; speaking at transfusion science conferences; working with an All Wales forum developing the Zero Tolerance policy (which has directly led to a significant drop in the number of samples labelled with the wrong patient details); being the laboratory lead equipping the Welsh Air Ambulance with blood products; being instrumental in developing ‘Blood Bikes Wales’ – a service for volunteers to transport urgent blood samples and blood products across the district. Blood Bikes Wales has proven highly effective and other trusts are also investigating using the service.  Most recently Barbara was nominated to work nationally for the patient at the other end of the transfusion spectrum as a key player in protecting precious blood donor resources by developing strategies to reduce wastage and inappropriate use. Barbara works closely with clinical leads and consultant Haematologists to develop long and short term strategic plans for the transfusion laboratory. Her recent drives have been successful enough to be adopted in England. The Welsh Air Ambulance is the first in the UK to source and carry lyophilised plasma on board.

Barbara’s solid dependency and commitment has never wavered despite suffering numerous serious health challenges. She is fondly thought of as having more than 9 lives and known to pick up emails from home even when signed off to recover.  Barbara’s caring persona is not limited to her professional life, she enjoys time with grandchildren, horse-riding, walking her dogs and looking after a menagerie of animals.  Her friendly wisdom and readiness to praise and advise has contributed to the camaraderie and friendly atmosphere in her department - an environment of trust and openness critical in the transfusion laboratory. Her non-judgmental approach to dealing with error guides the team to provide the best possible patient-centred care.

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been advanced to the current phase

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been moved back to the previous phase

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been advanced to the current phase