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PIP - 58

Microbiology - Handbook 

Consultant (Head of Department): Dr Justin Edwards extn 1249
Consultant: Dr Benny Cherian extn 3342
Secretary: Joanne Hill extn 3554
Enquiries and Results: extn 3557
  Acting Laboratory Manager: Toby James extn 3555
Outside office hours (office hours are Monday-Friday 09:00-17:30): contact via switchboard
General Information
Specimens for Microbiological investigations are primarily performed within the Microbiology Department at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital (BTUH). However, mycology samples are processed off-site at the Microbiology Department at Southend University Hospital (SUH). Mycology results can be accessed via both sites.

Out of Hours Repertoire
Routine Tests
Test Directory - Contains details and sample requirements of Pathology tests
Performance of tests
  There are a number of factors which can influence the performance of a test
or the interpretation of results. For specific requirements for a test, please refer to the test directory. For general guidelines to ensure the best possible testing, please see below:                            
  • Transport to the laboratory as soon as possible
  • Check correct Sample type for test requested
  • Store sample correctly if there will be a delay in tranportation
  • Ensure sufficient sample for testing
  •  Label sample and request form adequately (see acceptance criteria below)
  • Provide as much relevant clinical information as possible
Additional requests/ Add on tests
  Time limits for additional tests are dependent on sample type and test requested. Please contact the laboratory for further information.
Acceptance criteria and rejection of samples

Sufficient accurate patient information must be provided on request forms and samples to eliminate uncertainty as to the patientís identity; if some erroneous data is provided, this will call into question the accuracy of other information and may mean a request cannot be accepted.

  Request Form

Incomplete details on request forms result in delay in processing and reporting requests. It also increases the chances of specimen mix up and poor quality reports. The request form must have the following details clearly written, otherwise the specimen may be rejected:

For hospital/ outpatients;

  • Surname
  • First Name
  • Date of Birth

Plus one of the following;

  • Hospital Number
  • NHS number
  • A&E number

For trauma cases, when the patients details are not known, samples will be accepted with just the A&E number or Major Incident number

For GP Surgeries;

  • Surname
  • First Name

Plus one of the following;

  • Date of Birth
  • NHS Number
  • Hospital Number

N.B To allow us to provide you with the results that you requested please state legibly

  • Requesting Clinician
  • Ward/Clinic/ GP surgery

Whenever possible the following details must be filled in to allow us to process the specimen accurately. This allows us to carry out any additional tests which may be necessary. Failure to do so can result in limited results: 

  • Clinical details
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Site of specimen
  Sample labelling

For Hospital/ outpatients:


Plus two of the following;

  • Date of Birth
  • NHS Number
  • Hospital Number
  • A&E number
  • First name

GP patients:  

  • Surname
  • First Name

Allowance is made for unrepeatable or difficult to obtain samples; in the case of these or minor demographic errors, requests may be accepted and a comment added to the report to record details of the error. 

Both request form and sample must match with all acceptable identifiers, any discrepancies between the two will prevent sample from being processed.

  Rejected Samples

           Samples may be rejected on the basis that they fail to meet the necessary c         criteria. This may include:

          Unlabelled samples and/or request form

   Mismatch of samples and request form

   Inappropriate sample, container, transport media. Please see test directory for further information.

   Contaminated/ leaky sample

   Insufficient information to determine investigation required

   Investigation required is not performed by Laboratory

   Insufficient sample received, to enable test to be performed

   Sample stored inappropriately prior to transport to Laboratory

   Sample too old to process, as this may lead to inaccurate results

Reasons for rejection of blood samples are more complex and are dependent on the specific test being requested. Please look up the individual test located in the test directory for specific details.

Attempts will be made to notify users of rejection so that they may repeat the sample in a timely manner.
Version 1.0 / October 2014
General Information
Routine Tests
Clinical Information
Other Information