A Qualification in Phlebotomy!


When I set up Phlebotomy Training Services in July of 2007 my intention was to raise the benchmark in phlebotomy across the country.

Since then we have delivered our standardised, accredited phlebotomy training to thousands of learners, but I have been trying to raise the bar even further and to get phlebotomists the recognition that their skills deserve.

For the past 4 years I have been working with One Awards to develop a formal qualification in Phlebotomy

Last month I succeeded – There is now a National Open College Network Qualification in phlebotomy!

The qualification falls into 3 parts

The Award (NOCN Level 3 Award in Phlebotomy) consists of 9 credits and 63 Guided Learning Hours

The Certificate (NOCN Level 3 Certificate in Phlebotomy) consists of 28 credits with 220 Guided Learning Hours.

The Diploma (NOCN Level 3 Diploma in Phlebotomy) consists of 37 credits with 284 guided learning hours.

Each part of the qualification includes the following units:

NOCN Level 3 Award in Phlebotomy

Caring for the patients during the Phlebotomy procedure
Understanding Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Understanding Laboratory Techniques and Blood analysis

NOCN Level 3 Certificate in Phlebotomy

Caring for the patients during the Phlebotomy Procedure
Understanding Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Understanding Laboratory Techniques and Blood analysis
Preparing to Use Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Applying Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Understand Record keeping for the Care worker
Communication in the Workplace
Causes and Spread of Infection
The principles of Infection Prevention and Control
Cleaning Decontamination and Waste Management

NOCN Level 3 Diploma in Phlebotomy

Caring for the patients during the Phlebotomy Procedure
Understanding Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Understanding Laboratory Techniques and Blood analysis
Preparing to Use Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Applying Phlebotomy Skills and Techniques
Understand Record keeping for the Care worker
Communication in the Workplace
Causes and Spread of Infection
The principles of Infection Prevention and Control
Cleaning Decontamination and Waste Management
Phlebotomy Skills
Paediatric Phlebotomy
Capillary Blood Sampling Theory & Practice
Phlebotomy Skills – Cannulation
Reflective Practice

Within the Diploma there is provision for each learner to have a competence based practical sign off from an assessor.

If the learners choose to take the Award or the Certificate they can add other units to meet their own specific requirements – this makes the qualification flexible and capable of being tailored to meet the needs of individual learners.

I think that this Qualification, which is to be undertaken by practicing phlebotomists, is a giant step forwards for phlebotomists in the UK and this will, at last, enable our profession to get the recognition it deserves.

If you are interested in undertaking one of these new Qualifications please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.




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Travels, Ironmen and Facebook

I haven’t blogged since May

 Apologies – we have been very, very, busy……

We have worked with some amazing organisations over the past 5 months, English Institute for Sport at Loughborough, Kings College Hospital in London, Haringey CCG and Quintiles, to name but a few, and we have met and taught a lot of great people – thank you all

We have been as far north as Glasgow, as far south as Plymouth as far west as Bristol and as far east as Norwich (and we have been to lots of places in between as well)

I hope that by now everyone is using safety equipment as required by the HSE – that everyone is familiar with HSIS 7 and that you have all got suitably revised procedures and risk assessments in place.


We have been sponsoring Dr Justin Roberts’ trial as he trained recreationally active people to compete in an Ironman Triathlon over the past year and we went out to see the event in Calella on the 6th October.

For those of you that don’t know an Ironman Triathlon is a 2.4m swim a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon done one after the other on the same day.


Now we know Justin is mad because he has previously done the Marathon des Sables but he found 80 ordinary people who he has trained to take part in this race, and we watched them do it.

This blog by Gareth Nicholas gives a flavor of what it was like to participate on the day.

To say that I found the day inspiring is an understatement.

I was delighted, astonished and awed by what I saw the people do and am I am seeking to make some changes in my lifestyle as a direct result.


Jack has started running again and Emily and Sara are getting fit with me – and Andrew has a cunning plan – but he’s not saying what yet (although he says it does not involve a turnip).

Our facebook page has gone from strength to strength since my last blog – looking back to May and June we had about 3,000 likes and we are now closing in on 10,000. We must have one of the largest communities of phlebotomists and potential phlebotomists in the country.

We also send out a newsletter roughly every quarter to about 7,500 people and you can sign up to receive it by filling in the red box here and we do twitter too see @phlebotomyts and give us a follow.

We also have a new brochure that sets out what we do and where we do it.

We are very pleased with it have a look here




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EU Needlestick Directive to pass into UK Law 11 May 2013

After what seems like a never ending lead in period, May 11, 2013 is nearly here and we all need to think about what we need to do to comply with EU Council Directive 2010/32/EU, more commonly known as the EU Sharps Directive


I have been aware of this ever since it came out of Brussels in 2010 and lots of people have written lots of words about it – but I have waited till we get something concrete before joining in, and that “something concrete” came out last week.

The EU Directive will be implemented into UK Law by Health and Safety (Sharps Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 and if you employ someone using a medical sharp or if you use them yourself you need to read Health Service Information Sheet 7 (HSIS7).

I’m going to talk about this from the point of view of phlebotomy (There’s a surprise) but the regulations apply to anyone who uses a medical sharp so please feel free to share this with any doctors, dentists, nurses, med students, HCA’s etc that you know (I think the regulations probably cover chiropodists too)

‘Sharps’ are needles, blades (such as scalpels) and other medical instruments that are necessary for carrying out healthcare work and could cause an injury by cutting or pricking the skin.

The regulations only apply to people working in healthcare but I think they should form a best practice guide to anyone using a medical sharp whether in healthcare or not. So if you take blood, wherever or whenever you do it you ought to abide by them.

Don’t think “I’ll read it later” don’t flick through it, read HSIS7 and find out what it’s all about.

Download it from this link http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hsis7.htm, and put it on your phone, or your tablet, or your laptop.

If you are an employer you’ll need to make sure that you comply with them, and if you are an employee make sure that you understand what your responsibilities are and what measures should be in place to protect you.

 When you are provided with safer sharps


USE THEM!!!!!!!!!!

You must be trained how to use them properly when they are introduced  – it might feel different or awkward at first but persist and practice, they are after all, primarily for your own protection

There are two other useful pages on the HSE website to help you deal with the introduction of these regulations

Sharps Injuries – What you need to know



Sharps Injuries – What you need to do


If you have been trained by Phlebotomy Training Services Ltd I don’t think much in “What you need to know” will come as a surprise, but “What you need to do” needs a careful read and you need to think about the implications of it:

–       Are all the necessary risk assessments in place and up to date?

–       Have you got a phlebotomy policy in place and does it match with your risk assessment?

–       Is your needle stick injury (NSI) policy up to date and does it incorporate the new requirements in the Regulations to give the injured party access to prophylaxis?

Employers now have a duty to ensure that employees have immediate access to medical advice, to offer post exposure prophylaxis or other appropriate medical treatment, and to offer counseling if appropriate

–       Are your procedures for the disposal of clinical waste and used sharps appropriate, clearly defined, and fit for purpose?

–       Are appropriate processes in place to review all of your policies and procedures at regular intervals?

–       Can you reduce the use of medical sharps? If not you must provide and use safer sharps i.e. sharps that include an appropriate safety device.

–       Is there a safer system of working than the one you currently use?


 –       Has everyone who needs it got access to the information required by the regulations, are they aware of: the risks of a sharps injury, their relevant legal duties, what constitutes good (and bad) practice, the benefits and drawbacks of vaccination, and of the support available in the event of a NSI

–       Has appropriate training been delivered? This training must cover the correct use of safer sharps, the safe use and disposal of medical sharps, what to do in the event of a NSI and the employers arrangements for health surveillance and other procedures.

–       Is training given to new staff members?

–       Is refresher training given regularly

–       Does everyone routinely follow standard precautions for the prevention against infection with blood borne viruses.

–       Does everyone know which sharps injuries should reported to the HSE


I think that overall these regulations get the balance right and I think they will help to protect everyone from the risk of infection by a Blood Borne Virus.


If you have any comments or if you want any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me or see www.phlebotomytraining.co.uk

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Summer Travels

I came home from holiday on the 16th of May (how I love Lanzarote) and got straight back into the swing of things – this was my itinerary

19th May            Manchester

26th May            Glasgow

30th May            London

9th June            Nottingham

14th June            Brentwood

16th June             Southampton

21st June            Birmingham

23rd June            Middlesbrough

27th June            Birmingham

1st July                 Chatham, Kent

4th July            Tower Hamlets, London

Things were pretty straight forward, as we were delivering our Phlebotomy Skills course until the 14thJune when we delivered a new course for the first time – a bespoke course for the National Centre for Social Research which we did initially in Brentwood on 14th June then again in Birmingham on the 21st of June, with a trip to Southampton in between where we awoke to find boats parked outside our bedroom window!!

(and managed at day at the cricket to watch England beat West Indies in the first ODI)

I love developing and writing a new course – it is of course not without its challenges, but the feeling of satisfaction once it is delivered is immense.

After doing the second NATCEN course in Birmingham we had a home game – in Middlesbrough and Andrew won Jack a signed ‘Boro shirt (he’s a fan for his sins) by predicting the time of the first goal in the final of the Euros

We then delivered our new Developing Phlebotomy Skills Course for he first time to a group of doctors in a secure facility in Birmingham and they were brilliant – engaged, committed and very funny – we all had a great day.

Then it was new stuff again – delivering our phlebotomy for non-diagnostic research course to a group of lecturers and PhD students at the Chatham campus of Greenwich University, before going to a brilliant new surgery in Bethnal Green to deliver our Skills course to employees of Tower Hamlets PCT

That bought us back to Northallerton on Friday 6th July and then we had a weekend off while our two newest tutors Steve and Jo taught at Newcastle and Liverpool respectively

While all this was going on Jayne and Sid and Massimo and Max have been doing great work in London, Birmingham, and Bristol.

I think we have got a great range of courses now and they are all accredited with the OCNNER – and we have more in the pipeline.

Nobody else offers accredited training in phlebotomy and nobody has a range of courses that are tailored to the needs of groups of individual learners in the way that we do, and I’m both very proud of and excited by that fact.

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Spring, South Wales, The West Country and butterflies

It’s been a while but I’ve found time to put finger to keyboard again!!!

We went on a trip down south and west going to Cardiff, Bristol and Plymouth earlier this year, with a couple of days in a cottage in Dartmoor thrown in between. It’s a long way back up to Yorkshire from down there!

It all started the weekend of the England Wales rugby international on the Saturday and the Cardiff v Liverpool League Cup final on the Sunday. We thought Cardiff would be empty but it was wild – the city was heaving with people there to watch the sport!!

We then went on to Bristol and to Plymouth. I love going into new areas with PTS but then I enjoy training pretty much anywhere. We had tea outside one evening in Plymouth but that might have been our Summer….

Where as that lovely weather gone???

We ran our new course “Phlebotomy for non Diagnostic Research” in Loughborough University on 4th April. It is aimed specifically at PhD students and turns the Phlebotomy Skills course on it’s head ~ the written work is all done beforehand and marked and then we do the practical bits. it takes a bit of adapting to and feels really strange at times (after all I have been doing the opposite for 4 years) but I think that everyone had a good day. I know I did!

Then it was Maundy Thursday and the whole family got together in Essex for Easter

I have got to be careful what I say now but I heard something the other day that shocked me!

I was talking to someone who works for a national organization who introduced butterflies to their phlebotomists without providing them with training. As a result no one even showed the phlebotomists that the butterflies had a safety device on them, much less how to use it.

This reminded me of something else. We showed a lady how to use butterflies in connection with a job that she was doing for us the other day and once we’d shown her she said

“Oh so that’s how you do it…….. ”

and she had supposedly been taught to use them by three other people!!!

The moral of this story…. If you are using a butterfly it almost certainly has a safety device on it and you need to find out how to use it for your own protection!!

There are clips on the Greiner ones and to work the B&D ones you either have to push the black button if it has one so the needle retracts or pull back gently on the tubing to draw the needle and the wings back into the “body” of the butterfly.

If you can’t figure it out give us a call or skype us on pts.live and we’ll try and help!!

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New Website, Newsletter, Dublin and Manchester

After a nearly a year of planning waiting, watching and working our new website went live in the first half January – its not quite all there yet as we have a new booking system to come but it is up and running and I am really pleased with it – I hope it is simpler to find your way around and you can now download course outlines, funding information and a DWP funding form which I hope makes thing easier for everyone.

Click here to have a look and see what you think

After a bit of a performance (Andrew nearly got us banned from using the system but that is another story) my main man for graphic design and marketing Ian Bousfield of IS Designs got our January newsletter sent out on Thursday morning, backed up with some pretty amazing analytical software

Jack and Andrew wasted the entire day watching the software work saying things like

Look someone has opened it in Antigua


Someone has just opened it in Florida


There that’s someone in Aukland and they have just clicked through to the website

emails opened all over the world

Katherine was much more sensible (and so was I) but I couldn’t believe that PTS was sending emails out and having them read all over the world.

To see the newsletter yourself click here

Since my last post I have been across to Dublin again – I love the city but I don’t get much chance to see it really.

My trip tends to be drive to Holyhead – ferry (hopefully smooth) – go to the hotel, teach, sleep, teach again, catch the ferry back (again hopefully smooth) and drive home . A rough crossing wouldn’t worry me but my better half is a far from good sailor and he gets…….. grumpy……if it is rough.

The people in Ireland and lovely and I really enjoy teaching there, but then again I enjoy teaching anywhere.

We hold our Manchester courses in Media City at Salford Quays and we have been going there for a while now but it has changed an awful lot. Now the BBC have moved in it has gone from being a bit of a building site to a bustling busy place. It really is starting to be a media hub and there is always something going on and someone usually sees a person that they recognise from TV.

I’ll try and blog again before to long

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Well that was 2011

We have been very busy and the year passed before I got round to telling you what has been going on!!

We have had an interesting time!!

Chris, Sue, Julie and Jason, and Michelle have moved on and we wish them all the best, but Andrew, Adam, Jayne and Sid, Katherine and Alecia have joined us,

I am pleased to say that Mass and Max are still teaching for us in London and becoming more and more popular.

We are continuing to run courses all over the country, with Jayne and Sid working across the Midlands and Adam working primarily in the North.

I am particularly looking forward to going down the South West for the first time – we are going on tour to Bristol, Plymouth and Southampton and doing three courses on consecutive weekends without coming back up to Northallerton

We’ll have a car full of equipment when we set off on our trip – that is for sure!

We have been back to Scotland and across to Dublin several times where we have met Samantha and reconnected with Jackie, an old friend of Andrew’s, and we are looking forward to working with them in 2012.

During 2011 we have been getting more and more involved in teaching phlebotomy in universities which is very exciting.

We were delighted that Katherine won the Star Radio apprentice of the year award in November and we had a great evening out at the ceremony.

Just after that we started our new venture – the opportunity for people who have completed our training to take blood from real patients in a doctor’s surgery. The first three Clinics in Darlington have been a success and we are establishing centres in Sheffield and Birmingham with more to come as 2012 develops.

Jack our business co-ordinator started taking blood for real last Friday and I think he may have caught the phlebotomy “bug”.

Best wishes for 2012 and I’ll try really hard to blog more regularly

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