The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine Microbiology Group (ACB MG), a Special Interest Group of the ACB and formerly the Association of Clinical Microbiologists, is the professional body for Clinical Scientists in medical microbiology (encompassing bacteriology, food, water and environmental microbiology, mycology, parasitology, public health and virology).
Clinical Microbiologists are a subgroup of Clinical Scientists, a professional group registered by the Health and Care Professions Council who provide science-based diagnostic, reference and research healthcare services and whose title is protected by law in the UK. In 1984 the Association of Clinical Microbiologists (ACM) was formed to represent Clinical Microbiologists in all professional matters, such as relations with the Department of Health and the Royal College of Pathologists. The ACM established a clear role for Clinical Microbiologists in the health service by producing grading criteria, job descriptions and management roles, and recommend National Assessors when appointing Consultant Clinical Scientists in microbiology. On 1st July 2010 the ACM was dissolved and reformed as a Special Interest Group within the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine called the Microbiology Group (ACB MG). Within the ACB an elected Microbiology Professional Committee (MPC) was formed to act on behalf of all Clinical Microbiologists in professional affairs. In this way the ACB MG and its MPC continue the work of the ACM as the professional body for Clinical Microbiologists.
The ACB MPC also provides training schemes and supports qualifications for the registration of Clinical Scientists, and organises scientific meetings and events for all ACB members and the wider scientific community. Details of the training schemes and curricula provided for members, both pre- and post-registration, and training events can be found on the Training page. For conferences, courses and meetings organised by the ACB MPC and other organisations, see the Meetings and Events page.
The ACB changes its name
At the recent Annual General Meeting, held on the 18th April 2013 as part of the Focus meeting, the membership voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the ACB to 'The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine'. To ensure clarity and continuity, the abbreviation 'ACB' has been retained. This change was legally finalised by Companies House on 7th May 2013.
The name change reflects the evolution of the ACB into being a leading professional organisation for all laboratory disciplines in the UK, most notably with many Immunology and Microbiology professionals now joined with the traditional Clinical Biochemistry membership. This change of name is therefore one small step in demonstrating how the ACB intends to be representative of the quality, education and leadership needs of all its current and future members.
Happy 60th birthday ACB!
The ACB was founded in 1953 and so is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year. The ACB is a professional body dedicated to the practice and promotion of clinical science representing the interests of Clinical Scientists in the UK in its member disciplines of biochemistry, immunology and microbiology, and is one of the oldest such Associations in the world. We wish the ACB a happy birthday and long may it continue!
Election to the ACB MPC
There are several vacancies for positions on the ACB MPC. The MPC works hard on behalf of ACB members and we would like to invite all eligible members to apply and be a part of shaping the future for yourself and future generations of microbiologists. There are usually only 3 committee meetings held per year, 1 or 2 of which being via teleconference.
The vacancies arising are:
Federation of Clinical Scientists Microbiology National Officer and Microbiology Representative – to represent ACB members in this trade union. We would like to encourage applicants from PHE Colindale as it is preferable to have representation for Public Health England (ex-HPA) staff in addition to NHS staff. The Chair of the FCS, Dr Andrew Taylor, will provide training and there is also plenty of support from the ACB Administration Office.
Post-Registration Trainees Representative – to represent trainees who have successfully gained Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration and are still in trainee/higher specialist posts. This will include being a point of contact for queries.
STP Trainees Representative – to represent the increasing number of trainees on the new Scientist Training Programme (STP). There is a lot of work still to be done in this area so will be an interesting challenge, and the role will include being a point of contact for queries and helping organise the annual training meeting.
Meetings Secretary – to take the lead in organising the yearly Spotlight meeting (usually held in Oct/Nov). This will involve finding speakers, sponsors and venues. The role works in collaboration with the Administration Office and the current Meetings Secretary is happy to continue providing help/support.
Website Editor – to ensure up-to-date and relevant content on this current MG website and oversee the microbiology content of the new ACB website after launch. This is an exciting challenge as the new website will integrate all disciplines represented within the ACB. There is technical support from both the Administration Office and the website designers.
Nomination forms must be received by Wednesday 8th May. If more than one nomination for a position is received then a ballot will be required. For further information on the FCS positions please contact the FCS Chair Dr Andrew Taylor or for the other positions the Interim Chair of the MPC Dr Moira Kaye.
New Chair of the Steering Committee for UK SMIs
Dr Peter Cowling has been appointed as Chair of the Steering Committee for UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (SMIs). Dr Cowling will succeed Professor Brian Duerden, CBE, on the 23rd May 2013 and as such will step down from the role of Chair of the Working Group for Standards in Clinical Bacteriology.
UK SMIs are a comprehensive referenced collection of recommended algorithms and procedures for clinical microbiology, the production of which has been accredited by NHS Evidence since October 2009 and is certified to ISO 9001:2008. They consist of syndromic algorithms describing the investigations chosen at the pre-analytical (clinical syndrome) stage, recommended microbiological investigations including minimum testing algorithms (analytical and post analytical), clinical guidance covering the clinical background, differential diagnosis and appropriate investigation of particular clinical conditions and quality guidance describing essential laboratory methodologies. Find out more on the Public Health England UK SMIs website.
The ACB MG – increasing integration with the ACB
Since the Association of Clinical Microbiologists was dissolved on 1st July 2010 and all of its existing members automatically became members of the ACB, the MPC have been working hard to integrate the MG with the existing infrastructure of the ACB. Microbiologists now sit on several committees, including the ACB Council, National Meetings Committee, Education Committee and Publications Committee, are representatives in several ACB regions, work on the ACB News and have presented at regional scientific meetings. In 2011 microbiologists began hosting meetings as part of the highly successful Spotlight meeting series (see the Meetings and Events page). Since 2008 microbiologists have hosted satellite meetings at the annual ACB Focus meeting and ran parallel sessions at the Focus 2012 Training Day.
We can only continue to do this with your help. Please keep attending the scientific meetings and submitting articles for the ACB News and the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry. Don’t forget that any member of the ACB is eligible to stand for election to the committees and regions, keep a look out in the ACB News for current vacancies. Please help to ensure that the voice of microbiology in the ACB becomes stronger and stronger.
Modernising Scientific Careers - a new training programme
The UK health departments are currently implementing a new programme that will redesign and redefine the careers of all healthcare scientists (HCSs), termed the Modernising Scientific Careers (MSC) Programme. MSC was outlined in November 2008 and, after a period of consultation, the Department of Health (DH) published "Modernising Scientific Careers: The UK Way Forward" in February 2010. In April 2010 the DH then published "The England Action Plan" which details how MSC will be implemented. In November 2010 a new training programme called the Scientist Training Programme (STP) was developed to replace current Clinical Scientist training. The first batch of trainees were recruited into the STP in March 2011. The ACB MPC Education Chairs are working very hard to ensure that training curricula are set up correctly for the STP so that these new trainees emerge as fully developed HCSs. For further information on MSC see the Professional updates page, and on the STP see the Training page.
For all enquiries relating to the ACB MG, including membership, training and the website, please contact the ACB Administration Office by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (020 7403 8001) or post (The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, 130-132 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU).
To find out more about the benefits of membership and how to apply see the Join us page.