Tomos Rodrigues from SMTL’s Research and Development (R&D) department recently underwent training to become qualified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Lean Six Sigma methodologies have been adopted by a range of companies worldwide to improve processes and increase quality. The training encompassed the deployment of Lean techniques and the application of advanced statistical methods, as well as lean management and risk assessment approaches.

SMTL’s R&D department fulfils a number of functions, including health technology assessment, technical assurance and method development. Their wide-ranging scientific expertise underpins their high-quality outputs for NHS Wales and commercial workstreams. Through the adoption of Lean Six Sigma toolkits, the R&D department will continue to improve the capability of its processes, whilst delivering sector leading service provision for the benefit of the patients of Wales and its commercial clients.

Tomos has since provided training on core Lean Six Sigma tools to the R&D Department that will support efficient service delivery and drive a culture of continuous improvement. He is currently developing a Design of Experiments (DoE) training programme to establish the use of this systematic and efficient framework for experimentation within SMTL. Tomos is now looking forward to introducing Lean Six Sigma to staff across SMTL departments later in the year.




UKAS undertakes an annual assessment of accredited laboratories, however every fourth year UKAS performs a full reassessment of the organisation and 2023 was our lucky 4th year!  

This visit was complicated by additions to scope from our Biological and Physical Testing Departments and an extension to scope for our QA Department. This was also the first assessment of biological testing activities from our IP-5 satellite laboratory in Newport.

The audit team was thoroughly impressed with our team's professionalism, expertise and the manner in which we collaborated throughout the process with "great links between the QMS and technical competencies".

We are expecting publication of the final report over the next few weeks, however the formal UKAS recommendation is that SMTL maintain accreditation to ISO 17025 including all of the requested new test method additions, extensions to our accreditation and extending the schedule testing from IP-5.

Congratulations to Hannah Francis who recently completed her MSc in Medical Microbiology as she received the Alan Sweetman award.

This is awarded to the top student across MSc BMS and specialist courses at Manchester Metropolitan University.


SMTL have recruited 3 laboratory technicians to strengthen testing activities from our satellite laboratory at IP-5, Newport.

Pearl O'Shea previously worked at Simbec-Orion Ltd and joins our Biological Testing Department. Pearl will be working with colleagues developing methods to measure the resistance of protective clothing materials to viral penetration.

Jess Fox has joined our Quality Assurance Department from Celtic Food Laboratories Ltd. Jess will provide resilience for our environmental testing activities across Wales and will also be involved with QA functions at IP-5.

Finally, Jakob Morgan has formally joined our Physical Testing Department.  Jakob originally joined SMTL as a Kickstart employee and subsequently retained on a bank contract working across various departments in SMTL.  Jakob will be working from IP-5 validating ISO 14685 medical mask testing methods.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new faces at SMTL.

The SMTL Quality Assurance department has recently completed a testing programme for the Swansea Bay University Health Board at their new Theatre Suite located at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, an investment of more than £6m.

The newly built theatre suite and supplemental areas have been cleverly designed to be incorporated to existing theatre infrastructure, fitted with three new state of the art operating theatres which is set to become the health board’s Centre of Excellence for Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgery.

SMTL were tasked with the airborne microbiological testing of all Operating Theatres to validate the cleanliness of these commissioned theatres prior to use. The new theatre project went extremely well as planned and within schedule, with all performing within expected parameters.


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