Lanarkshire - Monklands General Hospital



The original hospital, the County Orthopaedic Hospital, was built in 1897. E.M.S. huts were built to extent the hospital at the start of World War II. The laboratory was established in a room in the Casualty Department in the mid-1940s. Edwin Hambly was appointed as Technician in April 1950 to succeed Murdo MacDonald.
Hambly started his career in 1939 in the Public Health Laboratory in the County Fever Hospital in Motherwell and went to Law Hospital in 1949. He remained at Stonehouse Hospital until he retired as Chief MLSO in April 1987.
Pavilion One, a former E.N.T. ward, was converted into a laboratory in the 1960s under the supervision of Bruce Woodger, Consultant Pathologist at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride. Kate Miller was appointed as Consultant Pathologist in charge of the laboratory ca. 1965. In 1973 the laboratory was divided into separate disciplines and combined with the Law Hospital departments to form the South Lanarkshire Division of Laboratory Medicine. In 1974 the Biochemistry Department was provided with the first of two Portacabins and a single channel of Technicon AAII equipment - prior to that, it had used only manual methods. During the next decade further analytical equipment was provided to allow the provision of a comprehensive service for selective testing. In 1988 the Biochemistry Department moved into a new extension which had been added to the existing Haematology Department.

Angela Parnham, who had been a Basic Grade and Senior Biochemist at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle (1975 to 1988), was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1988. She left in 1993 to take up a post as Principal Biochemist in the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle and was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist in Northumbria Health Care (covering North Tyneside, Ashington and Hexham Hospitals) in 2002. (ref: 42,56)

The laboratory closed in 2000.


Bellshill Maternity Hospital first opened in 1921 and the multi-disciplinary laboratory was opened in the early 1960s. Prior to this, post mortem examinations had been performed by staff from Glasgow Royal Infirmary or, after 1956, by Bruce Woodger, Consultant Pathologist at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride. Robert McAndrew was appointed as Consultant Pathologist.
McAndrew had been a Registrar in Pathology at Law Hospital, Lanarkshire, prior to moving to the Royal Infirmary in 1954. He had just accepted a post in Canada and had resigned his post in Glasgow, when he had a coronary which prevented his taking up the Canadian post. McAndrew's main interests were in blood transfusion and he developed an Area Cytology Service. He left to take up an appointment in the Isle of Wight in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
William Gardner, who had been at Law Hospital since 1954, was appointed in the mid-1960s to take technical charge of the laboratory until his retiral in the 1977. He died in 1990.

In 1976 the laboratory was divided into separate disciplines and combined with the Monklands District General Hospital departments and became part of the North Lanarkshire Division of Laboratory Medicine.

LG Shankara Rao, from the Scottish Regional Steroid Laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1977 and regraded as Principal Biochemist in 1990, retired in 1993 and died in 2004.

Between 1967 and 1977, some specimens for pregnancy oestrogens had been sent for assay by a manual method to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride. In 1977 the Steroid Laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary made available a service using an automated method. By 1978, the number of requests rose to 12,000 per annum and this trebled the work load for these assays at the Steroid Laboratory. Thus, in 1979 an antenatal oestrogen: creatinine service on a continuous flow analyser was established at the Bellshill laboratory. By the mid-1980s, this workload had risen to 28,000 specimens. This rise in work load paralleled an improvement in the obstetric services in Lanarkshire and between 1974 and 1985 the perinatal mortality rate for the hospital fell from 45 to 10.4 per thousand births. As ultra-sound scans became more available, the number of requests reduced until the service was discontinued in the late-1990s.
The hospital closed in 2001 when the maternity services for Lanarkshire moved to the new Wishaw Hospital.


The Western Region of the Blood Transfusion Service was started in Glasgow in 1939. When new premises were needed in the mid-1950s, Law Hospital was chosen as the site - this choice of a site in the country, 20 miles from Glasgow, was made for Civil Defence reasons and reflects the "Cold War" era. It was ironic that the Ravenscraig Steel Works, which arguably might have been a target in any East / West war, was then built only a few miles down the road. BTS moved back into Glasgow in 2001 when the hospital moved to Wishaw General and the Law site was closed.

The new unit started producing dried plasma, which it provided for all but the South East Scotland, in 1956 and the centre was in full use by the end of 1957. The unit developed considerable expertise in the preparation and distribution of antisera to IgG, IgM and IgA and acted as a focus for the activities of the Antibody Production Unit when this was formed in 1974. (ref: 29,41)


In the early 1970s, a need was identified in the West of Scotland for in-house production of certain antibody-based reagents used by the NHS in the Region. On the 1st May 1973, John Ratcliffe (who had been appointed the previous year as Director of the Regional Radioimmunoassay Unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary) was invited to attend a meeting of the Western Regional Hospital Board Working Party in Clinical Immunology, at which the establishment of an Antibody Production Unit was recommended. As the plans were developed, the NHS in Scotland underwent reorganisation and it was decided that the reagents would be ]produced for the whole of Scotland. Thus, when the Unit was formally established following a meeting in Glasgow on 9th October 1974, chaired by Dr Graham Scott of the Scottish Home and Health Department (and attended by, among others, H Gemmell Morgan, Angus C Munro and John Ratcliffe), it was under the management of the newly created Common Services Agency. At the outset, the Unit was administered by the Glasgow and West of Scotland Blood Transfusion Service and Dr J Wallace, the Regional Director, was the chairman of the Project Steering Group from 1974 to 1978. Staff were based at Law Hospital and other members of staff were employed at the Radioimmunoassay Unit (which had moved in 1974 to Stobhill Hospital and which returned to Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1977) and at Cochno Farm, which is part of the Department of Animal Husbandry of the School of Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow University.

The first group of sheep were immunised on 15th April 1975 (for anti-T4, followed shortly by anti-T3) and the first two formal issues of reagents were on 9th December 1976 (anti-T3 for Joe Fitzpatrick, Top Grade Biochemist at Ballochmyle Hospital in Ayrshire) and on 21st December 1976 (anti-T4 for John Seth in Edinburgh). Both antisera were very good and were still being issued more than a decade later.

In 1976 it was decided that the Unit should be called the "Scottish Antibody Production Unit". As more laboratories took up the Unit's products and as the laboratories increased their demands, the Unit's output increased. John Ratcliffe succeeded J Wallace as chairman of the Project Steering Group in 1979 and he, in turn, was succeeded by JR Anderson, Professor of Pathology, Glasgow University, in 1981.

A purpose-built laboratory was opened in 1982. At the beginning of 1984 the Unit became a separate Division of the C.S.A. and Angus Munro was appointed as Head of the Unit. During the next three years, the output of the Unit trebled, the staffing establishment doubled and new buildings were erected at Cochno Farm and at Law Hospital. (ref: 41)

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