Laboratory information (Microbiology)


Opening hours

Monday to Friday 0830 to 1700 Lab staffed and contactable by phone.
1700 to 1900 RSCH staff member on site carries bleep 8879.
after 1900 On call from home - contact via switchboard.
Saturday 0900 to 1300 Lab staffed and contactable by phone.
1300 to 1700 RSCH staff member on site carries bleep 8879.
after 1700 On call from home - contact via switchboard.
Sunday and
public holiday
0900 to 1300 RSCH staff member on site carries bleep 8879.
after 1300 On call from home - contact via switchboard.

On-call service

The Microbiology on-call / out-of-hours service is for emergency cases only where results are likely to influence patient management. It currently only covers the RSCH, RACH, SEH and PRH sites.

The table below details the specimen types that are performed on-call:

NOT routinely processed Processed until 11pm Processed anytime
  • Urines (except SPAs)
  • Sputum / BAL or other respiratory specimens (incl. RSV, PCP and TB investigations)
  • Virology / serology specimens
  • Faeces incl. C. difficile and viral studies
  • Swabs
Specimens from normally sterile sites including:
  • Pericardial fluid
  • Pleural fluid
  • Ascitic / Peritoneal fluid incl CAPD (require cell count)
  • Joint fluids
  • Tissue and operative fluids
  • Corneal scrapes
  • CSF
  • SPA
  • Rapid HIV test on women in labour with unknown status

Any clinician who is requesting tests not routinely performed on-call or after 11pm must be referred to the on-call microbiology clinician. If the on-call microbiology medic deems that the specimen would impact on patient management they will then contact the BMS to arrange for the specimen to be processed.

For specimens originating from RSCH and RACH

After obtaining the specimen contact the Biomedical Scientist on call via switchboard at RSCH. The specimen must then be sent urgently to Pathology Reception.

For specimens originating from PRH

For CSF samples please note PRH continues to provide an urgent service out-of-hours for CSF biochemistry. Please send the Biochemistry sample to PRH pathology as usual - sending it to RSCH may increase turnaround times on any other CSF tests requested.

After obtaining the specimen contact the Biomedical Scientist on call via PRH switchboard. The switchboard will also need informing that there is an urgent specimen to send to RSCH.

The specimen must be transported in compliance with the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations. Packaging is provided for this purpose. Failure to comply with these regulations could render the Trust liable to prosecution, so other types of packaging must not be used. The packaging consists of a fibreboard carton, containing a rigid screw capped plastic container, which contains a 3” x 5” absorbent pad to absorb any leakage, and packing material for cushioning.

Ensure the specimens are properly labelled and the request form fully completed. Wrap the specimen container(s) in the packing material and place in the plastic container, ensuring that there is sufficient cushioning between the specimen containers. Replace the lid and place the container in the fibreboard box. Close the box with the self lock tabs. Do not tape or seal the box as these are reusable items. Send the specimen urgently to switchboard who will arrange transportation to RSCH.

Please ensure that the specimen is correctly labelled and clearly marked URGENT as this can avoid a great deal of wasted time.


Enquiries related to processing of specimens (after the specimen has been obtained) should be directed to the Microbiology Biomedical Scientist on call.

Monday to Friday


bleep 8879

Enquiries relating to antibiotic prescriptions or clinical advice should be directed to the Consultant Microbiologist on call (contact via hospital switchboard).

from 7pm

On-call Biomedical Scientist via switchboard.



bleep 8879

from 5pm

On-call Biomedical Scientist via switchboard.



bleep 8879

from 1pm

On-call Biomedical Scientist via switchboard.

Out of hours/ on-call HIV testing

The on-call/out of hours HIV testing service performed in the Virology/Microbiology laboratory using point-of-care testing is only done in the following scenario only:

  • Women who arrive in labour with no prior known HIV status.

The request for the above also needs to be discussed and agreed with the on-call Microbiology/ Infectious Disease consultant.

Please note that, apart from the above scenario, the laboratory WILL NOT test for HIV on-call/out of hours.


Contact numbers

Main switchboards: RSCH 01273 696955

PRH 01444 441881


Results, Enquiries and Consultants’ secretary

ext. 64619

01273 664619 (direct line)

Specimen reception

ext. 64043

Bacteriology laboratory

ext. 64620

Virology laboratory

ext. 64627

Medical Staff



Dr. Sally Curtis

Dr. Sunil Sharma

Dr. Gillian Jones

ext. 64229

ext. 64229

ext. 64615


ext. 67516 or ext. 63547. If urgent, bleep 8080

Virology Consultant Dr. Mohammed Osman Hassan-Ibrahim ext. 63584
Page 07623 809015

Scientific Staff



Head of Service

Clare Reynolds

ext. 64621

Deputy Head of Service


ext. 63678


Chief BMS/ Site Manager

Clare McKoen

ext. 63678

Chief BMS/ Site Manager





Clinical Scientist

Shoshanna May

07436 040168

(only available Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00)


IT Lead

Matthew Longbone

ext. 64594

Clinical advice

A Clinical Microbiologist is available to give advice on microbiological diagnoses and interpretation of results, antimicrobial chemotherapy and infection control issues on a 24 hour basis.

During working hours

(Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00)

All calls during working hours should be made to the Duty Microbiologist [at RSCH ext. 67516 or ext. 63547. If urgent, bleep 8080; at PRH please call the switchboard to be connected to the Consultant Microbiologist.]

Out of hours

via switchboards: 01273 696955 (RSCH) or 01444 441881 (PRH) as appropriate.

Calls must only come from Registrar grade and above.

QVH consultant cover

A consultant microbiologist is available at QVH on Mondays on ext. 64361. For the rest of the week please contact Microbiology at RSCH on 01273 664619. Alternatively, you can contact the microbiology specialist registrar at RSCH as listed above.

Antibiotic susceptibility

Changes to antibiotic susceptibility reporting from Microbiology RSCH, UHSussex NHS Trust:

Reporting of antibiotic susceptibility is changing in line with EUCAST recommendations. Antibiotics will be reported as I as well as the more familiar S and R. The definitions of these are listed below:


Susceptible at standard dose


Susceptible, increased exposure (increased dose)


Resistant even with increased exposure/ dose


Agents reported as I should not be avoided; they are appropriate treatment options when given at the correct dose. 

For further information please refer to UHSussex antimicrobial guidelines published on MicroGuide Adult Antimicrobial Guide (all sites) (