Cellular Pathology (PRH)

All Histopathology & Cytopathology services are provided from the RSCH site.

Some Histology specimen reception and clerical functions will remain at PRH. Any specimens taken at PRH will be transported to RSCH on the 2 hourly courier runs.
PRH histopathology specimen reception will be available between 08.00 and 04.30, Monday to Friday.
Frozen sections can only be performed at PRH if booked in advance.
All technical, medical and result enquiries should be directed to the RSCH laboratory.
Histopathology enquiries ext. 64110
Cytopathology enquiries ext. 64414
PRH laboratory ext. 68226


Urgent Cases

It is important to liase with the laboratory to discuss any urgent cases, preferably before the sample has been taken, to arrange the appropriate management.

Results and reports

All results are sent to the requesting clinician's secretary. Result enquiries may be made via the clerical office (ext. 68226). It should, however, be noted that departmental policy is that scientific and clerical staff cannot give results over the telephone, but will provide reprints for collection or post. When this is insufficient for clinical needs, consultant pathologists will give verbal results to medical staff.

Results are available on ICE Desktop or on GP systems as soon as they are authorised. For information on how to access ICE Desktop click here.

Neuropathology (PRH)

Neuropathological cases are dealt with by Dr Rose and his secretary (ext. 68150). The general laboratory can receive specimens but has no access to neuropathological case results.

Histopathology (PRH)


All specimens should be submitted in a fixative unless arrangements for fresh examination have been made beforehand.

Testicular biopsies can be sent in Bouin’s solution, available from Pathology. All other specimens should be fixed in formal saline (formalin), ensuring that specimens are fully submerged. Formal saline is available from Pharmacy.

Gut resection specimens should be opened longitudinally (along the antemesenteric border, avoiding eccentric tumours) and the contents washed out with water, before being placed in formal saline. Uteri should be bisected longitudinally to expose the endometrium.

All other specimens should be submitted whole.

Secimen containers

These are available from Pathology in several sizes and should be labelled with a formalin fixative label giving full information including patient name, unit number or date of birth and date of collection.

Request forms

All specimens should be submitted accompanied by a fully completed request form detailing full patient identification, source, full clinical details, description of specimens and contact bleep number. Forms must be signed by a doctor.


Reports are usually issued on small, uncomplicated specimens within 48 hours of their receipt in the laboratory. Large specimens, requiring longer fixation may require an additional 24 hours before processing. If extra slides or immunocytochemistry are necessary a minimum of a further 24 hours may be required. There will be a longer delay if expert opinions are required.

Please indicate if the report is required for a specific early appointment.

Frozen sections

Planned frozen sections should be agreed with a consultant histopathologist at the time of scheduling surgery. Emergency frozen sections during laboratory opening hours can be submitted following initial discussion with the consultant.

Diagnostic Cytology

Diagnostic Cytology is now all processed at RSCH - click here.

Mortuary (PRH)

The mortuary is located within the Princess Royal, on the lower ground floor, behind & below the A&E department.

Morticians are available for routine work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. There is an emergency out of hours service at weekends and Bank holidays, but this is not for routine viewing of deceased patients who should be viewed before removal from the ward.

Post Mortems

Medical staff are welcome to attend both coroner's and hospital autopsies and should liase with the morticians about the timing of the examination. Please inform the pathologists directly of any suspected infective risk (TB, HIV, viral hepatitis) on any person who may have a post mortem.


There is no out of hours service for viewing of deceased patients who should be viewed before removal from the ward. The coroner's officer can arrange identification when it is required for coroner's cases.

Coroner's cases

These do not require relatives consent, although if the need for organ retention is anticipated this should be discussed with the pathologist and then the relatives who will be required to indicate their preferred method of disposal.

Hospital cases

The availability of the pathologist and mortician should be ascertained before obtaining relatives consent. If organ retention may be useful, this should be discussed with relatives who will be required to indicate their preferred method of disposal.


Foetuses small enough to reasonably fit in a pot should be sent in formalin to the histology laboratory. Larger foetuses should be sent unfixed to the mortuary fridge and the name written in the register. It should be clearly indicated whether a post mortem examination is required and whether a funeral is to be held. If a post mortem examination is requested this should be arranged with the Patient’s Affairs Officer and a consent form attached.

It cannot be overemphasised that it is crucial that all arrangements for viewing and funerals should be made clear to all parties. No foetuses should leave the ward without details of the requested destination and the requesting clinician.

Cytogenetics is not performed at the Princess Royal and fresh specimens should be sent directly to the cytogenetics department holding the current contract.