Clinical Biochemistry at Woolmanhill and Foresterhill


In the pre-N.H.S. days, the Aberdeen City Hospital was the city's fever hospital. In 1919 John Smith DPH was appointed as Assistant Medical Officer of Health with special duties in connection with the laboratory diagnosis of infectious diseases. This was to be part time laboratory work, with the rest of the time devoted to the clinical management of tuberculosis.

The laboratory was opened in 1920 and Smith was appointed as Director a short time later. Soon a rapport developed between the Bacteriology Department and the General Practitioners of the Region. The then small clinical chemistry component of the service for the GPs and for the hospital was met on a part time basis by the City Analyst. This arrangement continued when the N.H.S. became responsible for the hospital and its laboratory.

A Regional Service in toxicology, trace metals and drug assays was developed. In the early 1960s, it was agreed that the University Department would not duplicate this service and the more complex assays, mainly enzymes and hormones, would not be carried out at the City Hospital Laboratory. Some duplication was inevitable and delays arose through uncertainty about where urgent samples should be sent.

When Tom Clark retired from the City Analyst post in 1982, an attempt was made, without success, to find a successor to continue to combine clinical chemistry with public analyst work. Agreement was reached in 1986 for the clinical chemistry laboratory at the City Hospital to be amalgamated with the service at the University and this was completed in 1988. (ref: 32, 69, 89)

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