We recently contacted the Microbiology Department at Blackpool Victoria NHS Trust to ask them about their purchase of a new Whitley A45 Workstation. The hospital has been using Whitley Workstations for over 25 years, having previously had an MG1000 and a Mark3.
Mike Kershaw, Senior BMS, told us that they use the A45 to culture wound swabs, tissues, and blood cultures, etc, and are looking to grow any anaerobic bacteria. Whilst the new workstation still achieves the same optimal anaerobic growth conditions as previous models, there are quite a few different features on this latest chamber. “The speed of the airlock cycle is far superior to our old machine, the Whitley MG1000. It now takes one minute compared to nearly seven minutes, which was a long time to wait, and we are using significantly less gas now than previously.”
Mike’s cabinet has the new Instant Access Porthole system and he finds these much better to use than the oval ports with sleeves as they can enter the workstation much quicker. In terms of navigation and working inside the workstation, they find everything is easy to reach. Mike added, “We have a couple of people who are only 4’ 11” and they have no problems.” The team has also found that they have no humidity issues in the workstation.
We asked Mike about the Anaerobic and Catalyst Monitoring Systems, which were not available on the old MG1000, “We have the Anaerobic and Catalyst monitoring systems fitted, along with Data Downloading, and this has improved confidence in the performance of the chamber. We have always used controls in the workstation to monitor its effectiveness but these new systems are far more efficient. There is no paperwork and it is ideal for UKAS compliancy. Also, we find the actual touch screen display very easy to use.”
Blackpool Victoria were confident in the Whitley brand as they had had a Whitley Workstation before, as mentioned above. However, Mike did see an A45 when given a tour of Don Whitley Scientific’s head office in West Yorkshire by his DWS sales contact, Alex Simpson.
Alex also carried out the free training on use of the workstation. “When Alex came to give us our training, he carried this out for groups of about five people at a time to ensure everyone completely understood the workstation,” commented Mike.
In terms of the workstation being reliable and easy to maintain, Mike believes this is evidenced by the fact that they have had no problems at all since it was installed in April. He added that the technical support from DWS has been excellent and when their free first year warranty runs out, he will be taking out an annual service and maintenance contract.
And finally, when we asked why Mike’s lab decided to buy a Whitley Workstation, he told us: “We already had a Whitley Workstation and it has always been excellent but as it was so old (13 years), if it broke down parts would be harder to get so we decided to update to a new model.”
We would like to thank Mike Kershaw, Blackpool Victoria NHS Trust for his time in answering our questions for this article.