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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Careers with the Microbiology Department

Life Sciences play an essential role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of medical conditions.

Microbiology, also called Infectious Sciences, is one division of the Life Science disciplines. Microbiology as an umbrella encompasses Bacteriology, Virology, Parasitology and Mycology. As a large teaching laboratory, the laboratory of the Oxford University Hospitals is fortunate to be able to cover all of these Microbiology specialties.

The Microbiology Department supports the Trust's commitment to learning and continual development for all staff. The department is committed to maximising the potential of all staff on an individual basis through training and development consistent with professional boundaries and the needs of the service. All staff are encouraged and supported in continual professional development within the limitations of the service requirements.

Staff training is a combination of two elements; firstly, the departmental support and guidance with work-based assessments and learning, and secondly, the need for those in training to recognise the need for home study and learning outside of the constraints of the laboratory.

Training and education within the Microbiology Department at Oxford is varied and covers many different bands within the Healthcare Science Structure.

Current staff within the laboratory include:

  • Laboratory Support Workers (LSW)
  • Apprentice LSW
  • Associate Practitioners
  • Pre-Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Biomedical Scientists (trainee BMS)
  • HCPC Biomedical Scientists
  • Specialist HCPC Biomedical Scientists.

The latter not only have specialised microbiology skills, but also the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications for service improvement such as management, quality, health and safety and training.


The department has training approval from the relevant awarding bodies to offer qualifications to all grades of staff within the Healthcare Science Structure.

Laboratory Support Staff may qualify to undertake the Pearson Edexcel NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Pathology Support.

Suitably qualified LSW may also be able to participate in local Apprenticeship programmes, enabling the gaining of not only a qualification, but also transferable work skills that are invaluable in the medical laboratory workplace.

For Associate Practitioners, we support the completion of an in-house portfolio and subsequent voluntary register with the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

All staff are able to apply to do other relevant diplomas up to Level 5 in areas such as administration and management.

For those training to gain registration as a Biomedical Scientist, the options and routes are varied, depending on previous achievements. You will require an IBMS accredited BSc Biomedical Science or the appropriate top-up modules stated by the IBMS in addition to a relevant BSc. This, together with laboratory training and competence, as well as the completion of a portfolio of evidence, will enable a route to HCPC registration as a Biomedical Scientist.

Postgraduate and HCPC registered Biomedical Scientists may expand their knowledge and have the opportunity to complete IBMS Specialist Diplomas and Masters level qualifications. With wide and varied laboratory exposure to clinical microbiology cases, the experience that can be gained is vast. On completion of Specialist level certificates, further qualifications in specific and relevant subjects can be achieved. As well as these additional qualifications, the department offers the gaining of significant workplace experience in leadership, service development and management.

This modernisation involves developing, educating and training of staff for the healthcare laboratory of the future, ensuring a fit-for-purpose workforce.

We work to ensure that we have a workforce that is flexible, trained and competent to deliver the high quality of service that is required in a busy microbiology laboratory. Keeping abreast of the latest training and educational requirements to complete this is very important to us.

The laboratory is approved by the General Medical Council (GMC) with the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists to provide Health Education Thames Valley; Dual training in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Infectious Diseases / General Internal Medicine.

The department is also approved by the GMC and Colleges for the Combined Infection training curriculum.

If you think a career in Microbiology is for you, please check out the OUH jobs website for current vacancies.