Microbiology Department, Wythenshawe Hospital

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The Microbiology department at Wythenshawe Hospital provides diagnostic services to Wythenshawe and Withington Hospitals as well as General Practitioner surgeries in the South Manchester area and beyond.

Laboratory opening hours

The laboratory is open:

Monday to Friday: 9.00am -7.00pm*

*Outside of working hours contact the on call Biomedical Scientist through Switchboard (0161 998 7070) for urgent requests.

Saturday: 8.30am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9.00am – 5:00pm

The total workload is approximately 315,000 specimens per annum.

Use of pneumatic tube

CSF and respiratory samples including sputum, BALs etc MUST NOT be sent via the pneumatic tube.  All other specimens, e.g. swabs, tips, clotted bloods, blood cultures, faeces and urines can be sent via the pneumatic tube. If you have any doubt about the suitability of sending a sample via the pneumatic tube system, contact the department on ext: 4819

Obtaining results or clinical advice

For Medical Microbiology advice for the more complicated cases, contact the duty microbiologist on 0161 291 2885 or via switchboard.

Providing clinical information and an accurate description of the nature of the specimen are important for correct processing and reporting by the laboratory. Please indicate clearly on the request form if there is a history of foreign travel.

Preliminary culture results are available 24 hours after specimen receipt (at the earliest), and sensitivities usually after a further 24 hours. For ‘special’ samples such as blood cultures and CSF, the microbiologist will inform the clinicians of initial significant results as soon as they are known.

Culture plates are read by the biomedical scientist in the morning, but please give the staff some time to do this. Most results should be available by 11.30am.  For microbiology results, please check ICE in the first instance. In cases of difficulty or for further clarification, the laboratory enquiry number is 0161 291 4819.

Please refer to the antibiotic guidelines in the first instance for the commoner microbiology enquiries regarding treatment. New or junior doctors should discuss queries with their own clinical team before calling the Medical Microbiologist

For infection control advice alone, the infection control nurses can be contacted on extension 2630 or bleep via switch during routine working hours.

Sensitivity results are reported as follows:

S= Sensitive (fully)
I= Intermediate (reduced sensitivity)
R= Resistant

Additional tests

Additional tests can be requested on all samples by contacting the laboratory, and providing an additional request.  Most samples are stored for a maximum of 7 days, although it must be recognised that used samples will have a limited volume and for some tests old samples may influence the culture results.


All urgent results will be telephoned when requested or if there is a clinically     significant result a Microbiologist or BMS will contact the requesting ward.  Results     are not routinely faxed but this can be arranged on a restricted basis.

For other results/enquiries during normal working hours: Tel: 0161-291 4819

Out of hours service

A limited number of investigations are offered out of normal laboratory hours (i.e. 19.00 – 08.30 weekdays, 17.30 to 08.30 Saturdays, and 17.00 to 08.30 Sundays and Bank Holidays) where urgent results are required.  The duty BMS can be contacted through hospital switchboard

The following tests are available as appropriate:

  • Paediatric Emergency Admission urines Children <3yrs old
  • CSF (Cell Count & Culture) Samples requiring TB investigations cannot be processed out of hours, Ascitic / Peritoneal Fluid (Cell Count & Culture)
  • Joint Fluids (Gram stain & Culture) Crystal investigations are performed by Cytology
  • Sterile Fluids from all areas will be considered for processing after discussion with the BMS on call

For urgent out of hours processing of samples adopt the following protocol:

1. Call the Biomedical Scientist (BMS) on-call, via the switchboard at Wythenshawe, after you have collected the sample. The BMS will not come to the laboratory to wait for specimens.

2. Transport of the sample to the correct laboratory in a timely fashion is the responsibility of the ward, not of the BMS on-call and should be via the portering system or pneumatic tube.

Specimen transport

All samples must be accompanied by a request form. We require four identifiers on all samples and request forms. These identifiers are:
1. First name
2. Surname
3. Date of birth
4. NHS or hospital number

Ensure that the request form includes the correct Consultant Code (Consultant’s initials).

Contact details

Name External Numbers

Dr Stephanie Thomas

Clinical Lead, Consultant Microbiologist



(0161) 291 4792

Dr Mairi Cullen

Consultant Microbiologist



(0161) 291 2884

 Dr Ibrahim Hassan                                                                                          (0161) 291 2884

Consultant Microbiologist



0161) 291 4756

Dr Sajjad Mirza

Consultant Microbiologist



(0161) 291 5812

Dr Moira Taylor

Consultant Microbiologist

Infection Prevention & Control Doctor




(0161) 291 2892

Specialist Registrar


(0161) 291 4784/4863

Angela Downes

Laboratory Manager



(0161) 291 4758

Gemma Edwards                                                                                          (0161) 291 4758

Deputy Laboratory Manager



(0161) 291 4759




(0161) 291 4862/4754



(0161) 291 4755

Clinical Advice Line


(0161) 291 2885

Laboratory Enquiries


(0161) 291 4819

Hospital Switchboard


(0161) 998 7070

(Last reviewed February 2019)