The Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) has consistently pursued its path of professionalism and excellence over the past year. As the 2019 annual report shows, all departments made significant progress on key issues in this context. With the aim of serving the country and its people even better in matters of health, processes were made more efficient, new competencies were developed and structures optimised. In addition, the “Together LNS” value system was adopted, which is also displayed in detail in the annual report.
“2019 was a ‘values-based’ year for the LNS. Where do we stand, where do we want to go – and how do we get there? These were amongst the questions that shaped 2019. We have found sustainable solutions to these questions – together and at all levels – which will allow us to make ourselves fit-for-purpose for the coming years”, says Prof. Dr. Friedrich Mühlschlegel, Director of the LNS: “The central question was how to turn a good organisation into an excellent organisation – a question which is particularly important in the health sector- a profession driven by permanent innovation.”
Values which have been put into practice
In the long term, with “Together LNS”, the LNS has committed itself to the values of trust, respect, transparency, teamwork, excellence and professionalism – and in 2019, these values were put into practice in a variety of ways, continues Friedrich Mühlschlegel: “Our Forensic Medicine Department, for example, was able to identify which drugs are used in Luxembourg and to what extent, in a Europe-wide project. Our Medical Biology Department expanded mass spectrometer analyses to four major categories of drugs, and our microbiologists secured the accreditation of a molecular biology test which allows for rapid in-house identification of most mycoses. Our National Center of Genetics (NCG) insourced Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), a technique that future parents have been familiar with for some years.”
While these measures are evidence of a sustainable, people-driven investment in technological excellence, the human factor as such has been further strengthened in other departments in 2019. The National Center of Pathology (NCP) completed the specialisation process it had begun in 2017 with the aim of making optimal use of existing competencies within the team. As for the Health Protection Department, its Environmental Hygiene and Human Biological Monitoring Service was restructured, with Occupational Hygiene added as a new pillar. Last but not least, a further milestone was set in the area of hygiene, which is particularly important for a healthcare laboratory. The Service for Infrastructure & Logistics expanded the in-house cleaning service team with targeted external expertise.
Exciting insights in both English and French language
“All these examples show that a structure like ours requires excellence across the board and at all levels, and the annual report provides thus exciting insights into the implementation and the details of these changes”, underlines Friedrich Mühlschlegel. The different “stories” were formulated in English – as more comprehensive articles – and then translated into a shorter French version. The articles are supplemented by a list of Key Facts and Events for 2019 for each Department, also in English.
According to Friedrich Mühlschlegel, this linguistic set-up does justice to the positioning of the LNS as a Luxembourg-based health player with international impact: “Our laboratory is a cornerstone of the healthcare system of Luxembourg and the Greater Region. With the choice of English as the key language, we are expressing our claim to excellence as an international team working for a highly international country. At the same time, with the use of the French language we aim to respect the cultural background of this country and many of the people we serve. The additional use of some Luxembourgish elements, both in language and with regards to visual elements and artwork is also deliberately chosen in this context. All this makes our annual report a little more unusual”.
Measures taken in 2019 have proven themselves in 2020
Also unusual for an annual report is the reference to the current year. Due to the current situation, which particularly affects the healthcare sector, the LNS has decided to also mention current events in an afterword – with good reason, as Dr. Evelin Schröck, Chair of the LNS Board since the end of 2019, points out: “Given that 2020 has so far undoubtedly been an exceptional year, we have taken the liberty of including a piece on the present situation in this afterword.”
The current events are also unprecedented for the LNS, continues Evelin Schröck: “When I took over as Chairwoman of the LNS Board in December 2019, one could fully expect it would be a fascinating task, requiring a high level of passion and commitment to tackle new routes. That was the reason why I chose to take on the role in the first place. Yet at the time, no one could have been prepared for the fact that a pandemic would engulf the world a few weeks later. My time at the LNS so far has indeed very much been shaped by COVID-19, and it has shown all the more how important it was to consistently follow the path of excellence in recent years. Many corresponding measures taken in 2019 and prior have proven their worth in the very harsh reality of 2020.”
The annual report 2019 can be downloaded via the following link: https://lns.lu/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/lns_annual_report_2019.pdf