Post-examination processes

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Communication of results

Images and ultrastructural comments are normally saved locally, copied to cd and sent to the Service User via post. In exceptional circumstances, images can be emailed (e.g. where EM results needed urgently for MDT).

Turnaround times

Electron microscopy is a highly skilled, specialised service and one which is a lengthy process intrinsically. It is highly sensitive to staffing pressures and unexpected increases in workload. Therefore, it is difficult to guarantee consistency of turnaround times (TATs).

Average routine turnaround times, in accordance with service user requirements, are detailed in individual service level agreements. No turnaround time is guaranteed when samples are received in single batches greater than 5 samples or when multiple batches totalling more than 5 samples are received in the same week from any given external service user.

However, samples that are requested by the Pathologist to be prioritised for valid clinical reasons are always expedited through the system with priority over all routine samples already in process and are examined in the order in which they are received. Digital images should be available within 2 – 6 working days of receipt/notification of priority status dependant on the number of priority samples already in the system at the time.

Service charges and billing

The Cellular Pathology Department currently has 2 standard charges for its Electron Microscopy Service, dependent on whether the sample requires ultrastructural examination only (i.e. pre-prepared grids) or technical work in addition (tissue processing, semi-thin sectioning and/or ultra-thin sectioning).

The specific charge amounts will be detailed within Service Level Agreements. For ad-hoc referrals, where no formal SLA exists, the service user will be advised of the charges on enquiry.

Billing takes place at the beginning of each financial quarter where the Service User is invoiced for all requests completed within the previous quarter. Backing information is provided subject to Trust Information Governance restrictions.


(Last reviewed 19th June 2018)