The blood film staining system in the pathology department at North Devon District Hospital has been in constant use over the last 30 years. Sadly the tireless years of usage have meant the glass stain baths – specifically shaped to sit within the machine – have slowly deteriorated and in some cases have broken.
It looked like the machine would need to be put into retirement or replaced as the original supplier was not able to support this model and or provide replacement glass parts for it. A new replacement machine could have cost up to £12,000 and would not have been able to produce results of such a high quality.
The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust turned to Dartington Crystal in Torrington. Never a company to turn down a challenge, Dartington was able to take one of the remaining staining bath vessels and reproduce a number of replica pieces in hand-made crystal.
As a result the staining system should now give many years of continued service to the people of North Devon by providing top-quality blood films for the diagnosis of disorders such as anaemia, leukaemia and even malaria.