Specimen requirements

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All specimens should be sent to the laboratory in an appropriately labelled specimen pot that is large enough to easily accommodate the specimen. It is unsafe practice to label specimen pots in advance of a procedure.

High risk specimens

Specimens that potentially contain category 3 pathogens (for example, mycobacterium, HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C) must be clearly labelled as HIGH RISK on both the request card and on the specimen pot. Please refer to the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) website for a comprehensive list of Category 3 human pathogens.

To ensure health and safety of staff, high risk specimens are to be fully fixed before being processed by the laboratory. The date and time that the specimen is taken should be recorded on the request card for all high risk specimens to enable the laboratory to calculate the fixation time on receipt. This information will minimise the infection risk to staff and prevent undue delay to processing.

Frozen sections and immunofluorescence investigations will not be performed on any high risk or potentially high risk specimen.

Frozen sections

Frozen sections should be booked 24 hours in advance after discussion with a Consultant Pathologist. If this is not possible, for example in an emergency, a Consultant Pathologist should be contacted as soon as possible. You will be asked a series of questions including the clinical reason for the request as well as a telephone number for the verbal report.

Urgent specimens

Please let us know if a specimen requires to be reported urgently by ringing the main laboratory on ext.12240, but do bear in mind that specimens for histological analysis do need at least 24 hours fixation and a further 24 hours preparation time. It is sometimes unwise to shorten this time, as it puts the quality of the specimen at risk. Please liaise with us and we can advise you on the optimum way to deal with the sample, bearing in mind both the need for a rapid result and the requirement for good histology to make an accurate diagnosis.

Molecular diagnostics – FISH

Molecular Diagnostics is situated over two floors, 4th Floor Paediatric Histology and 5th Floor Research. This service offers Fluorescent In Situ Hybridisation (FISH) for soft tissue tumours and neuroblastomas (turn around time of 3-4 days) involving approximately 30 probes. The department utilises a Leica DM2500 Fluorescent Microscope and image capture system and is enrolled in UKNEQAS for Cytogenomics (CEQAS) quality assurance scheme. Any clinician wishing to request FISH should discuss this with the reporting Pathologist. It is not appropriate to contact the laboratory directly to request FISH.


The Paediatric Immunohistochemistry Laboratory is situated within the Paediatric Histopathology. We currently house an automated Ventana BenchMark staining machine which we use to carry out our routine clinical work. We currently hold a repertoire of over 130 antibodies, listed on our Antibody Repertoire List and are enrolled in the UKNEQAS ICC quality assurance scheme.

Any clinician wishing to request specific immunohistochemistry antibody markers should discuss this with the reporting Pathologist. It is not appropriate to contact the laboratory directly to request IHC.

Electron Microscopy

We offer Electron Microscopy via the electron microscopy suite in Clinical Sciences Building

Electron microscopy will be undertaken at the specific request of the reporting Consultant Histopathologist. If the user would specifically like to request electron microscopy on a specimen, an appropriate Consultant Histopathologist must be contacted prior to biopsy.


The department regularly receives requests for expert/second opinion from other hospitals. Similarly, the department also refers cases to other services for expert opinion, diagnostic services and in response to service pressures. The following are the most commonly used.

Type Address
Reporting/vacancy cover LDPath
NHS Department, 6 St John’s Place, London,
Genetics Manchester Centre for Genetic Medicine
6th Floor, St Mary’s Hospital, Oxford Road, Manchester
M13 9WL
Mitochondrial Studies Muscle

NSCAG Newcastle – Dental Hospital

Newcastle University – Medical School

Cytogenetics, Second Opinion Christie Hospital
Immunofluorescence on skin biopsies Leeds Teaching Hospital

(Last reviewed 19th July 2017)