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Pathology and Laboratories

Laboratory investigations are essential for almost every patient who comes into contact with the hospitals and an increasing number of patients receiving treatment in the community.

More than three quarters of all medical diagnoses rely on laboratory investigations.

The department carries out over six and a half million tests each year. Most tests carried out by laboratory scientists are done on blood, urine or other fluid or tissue samples. Within these are some routine tests that are performed in very large numbers and others which are rare and complex.

Directorate of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Specimen Transport Protocol (pdf, 500 KB)

This is a controlled document.

The master copy of this document is held on iPassport. This document must not be copied or altered without express permission from appropriate management teams. This document will be reviewed on a regular, scheduled basis.

January 2023 - Biochemistry update

Biochemistry is changing the blood collection tubes used for adults' routine biochemistry investigations from lithium heparin plasma to serum. There is no clinically significant difference other than slightly higher reference intervals for potassium and phosphate.

Please do not overstock lithium heparin plasma tubes and increase your stock of the serum BD SST II Advance tubes (NHS stock item KFK 114).

This will not affect paediatric tubes.

Tube guide

Tube Guide and Recommended Order of Draw (pdf, 347 KB)

Paediatric Tube Collection Guide (pdf, 110 KB)

A guide for successful collection of blood specimens is available here:

Tips for blood collection

Our laboratory services

For external organisations ordering tests from us: please note that, by sending us a sample and completed request form, you will be entering into an agreement based on our Terms and Conditions:

Terms and Conditions (pdf, 128 KB)

Information on turnaround times, tests available and ordering process can be found on this website, or you can contact us using the contact details listed on the individual laboratory websites.

If you intend referring work for the first time to any of our laboratories, or you intend a significant change (considered to be an increase of greater than 20 percent by activity), please contact the relevant laboratory prior to referral, so that the laboratory can assure you that they have the capacity and resources to meet your request.

If you are unsure of the specific laboratory, please contact Andrew Platt, Haematology Quality Manager.

Pathology accreditation

All laboratories within the Pathology and Laboratory Directorate are inspected annually by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against international standards (ISO15189) and have achieved accreditation.

Pathology accreditation

Other related departments and organisations

Last reviewed:26 January 2023