Opening hours and general information

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The histology/cytology laboratory is open from 8am until 5.30pm. Outside these hours relevant personnel are on call for dealing with urgent cardio-thoracic transplant biopsies. Notice needs to be given to the Consultant Histopathologist and the Biomedical Scientist of the intention to perform a biopsy and to the Biomedical Scientist when the specimen is dispatched for transport to pathology.

All tissue taken for histological analysis will initially be stained with routine haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain. Following this, additional staining tests may be performed to aid or confirm the initial diagnosis. All cellular fluid samples are stained with H&E, papanicolaou, or giemsa stain, depending on specimen type.

The Mortuary is open from 8.30am until 4pm and Anatomical Pathology Technicians operate a limited on call service. They can be contacted via the duty manager in the first instance.

Sample acceptance

All specimens need to be accompanied by a correctly completed histology/cytology request form. Please see sample acceptance criteria for more information.

It is recognised that histology samples are often not repeatable therefore the department has protocols in place to deal with specimens and accompanied request forms that do not meet the specimen acceptance criteria. A final report will not been issued until such details have been corrected. The requesting clinician will be required to attend either the Laboratory at Wythenshawe or Tameside. Samples from General Practitioners will be returned for amendment. All specimen and/or request form amendments will need to have a specimen amendment form completed. If amendments are not addressed within seven calendar days then an incident will be raised in Ulysses.

Clinical information

In producing a final diagnostic histopathology or cytopathology report the Pathologists are essentially looking to provide guidance and answers to clinical queries. Therefore it is essential that all relevant clinical information is provided on the request form (paper based or electronic) so that the histological and cytological features of the specimen can be interpreted within the clinical context. Rather than simply repeating oneself under each heading give relevant clinical details, procedure details, medical history and the clinically suspected (differential) diagnosis. This should include all previous malignancies, whether in the same or any other organ system. Under Specimen Details, give the precise anatomical site of the specimens sent. If there are multiple specimens, there should be a one-to-one correspondence between the specimens listed on the card and the labelling of the specimen pots. State any markers / sutures / clips, and their significance. Record any features of the specimen that are likely to be difficult to interpret after fixation, particularly for complex resections.

If the relevant, appropriate clinical information is not provided this may lead to a delay in the final report being issued.


(Last reviewed June 2021)