A message from the Chair of the MPC

I have the honour of being the new Chair of the Microbiology Professional Committee of the ACB and I’m writing to update you on our progress in remodelling our group and improving what we can achieve as a collective.  

It was widely acknowledged by the committee that we have not integrated well into the ACB. This is due to several reasons and we agree that we must redouble our efforts to do so. I’m grateful that so many Clinical Scientists and trainees in microbiology participated in an engagement survey. This highlighted the perception that the benefits of being in the ACB did not match the cost of the membership. The committee met as a group in late May 2019 to establish the best way forward and we are grateful to the President, Prof Neil Anderson, for attending in person and for his welcoming approach. 

We agreed to model our structure following the approach of the Immunology Group of the ACB. We aim to focus on what is important for our members and establish terms of reference and job descriptions for key areas. Committee members are already contributing in a broad range of areas that benefit our membership and the microbiology community as a whole and it was accepted that this is not always performed in a coordinated manner nor was it always communicated to the membership. Following the analysis of the engagement survey we have opted to focus on three main areas.   

Education: We will continue to be represented at NSHCS and contribute to STP & HSST training and assessment. We acknowledge that there are a large number of individuals who are not in formal training posts who wish to apply for equivalence via AHCS. We will endeavour to offer support and guidance where appropriate at regional and national levels.     

Professional Issues: We will continue to be represented at ACS & FCS. Our committee members are already working hard in numerous regional and national committees, and organisations to further the cause of microbiologists and Clinical Scientists in healthcare and beyond. We aim to highlight key bodies, maintain an appropriate level of engagement, and ensure that these activities are communicated with the membership.  

Scientific: We will continue to be represented at the ACB Scientific Committee. We see the award of research and travel grants from the ACB as important components of our membership and we will continue to encourage our members to apply. We will also formalise our engagement with the UK SMI (Standards for microbiology investigations) working groups that inform best practice in our profession. Contribution to local, regional, and national audits was highlighted as an area for potential integration into ACB.  

We are keen to grow our network of regional representatives. We envisage that these experienced individuals will act not only as local points of contact for enquiries from members but also as local champions for microbiology. Please feel free to contact them – they have a wealth of experience! 

Northern Ireland – Alison Watt
North West – Zoie Aiken
Scotland – Kate Templeton 
Southern – Marcus Pond
South West & Wessex – Peter Muir
Midlands – Moira Kaye
Trent, Northern & Yorkshire – Clark Gemma 
Wales – Catherine Moore 

We have also committed to continued involvement with ACB News. We see this as a vital route for disseminating microbiology information to our membership. Please let us know about meetings that you’ve been to, training experiences that you’d like to share, or improvement projects that you’re involved in.

Finally, a recurring comment from the engagement survey suggested that many members felt that the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry did not fit their needs and was seen as unnecessary. We are in discussion with other publishers to assess if we can offer an alternative that would be relevant to our members.

The committee are looking forward to working with the wider membership to support microbiologists and to further the cause of laboratory scientists in general. Please feel free to get in touch! 

Rob Shorten PhD FRCPath
Chair of the Microbiology Professional Committee