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 two scenarios:

  • Pregnant women with late booking

  • Women who arrive in labour with no booking

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 two scenarios, 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. 461901273 664619 (direct line)

Specimen reception

ext. 4043

Bacteriology laboratory

ext. 4620

Virology laboratory

ext. 4627

Medical Staff



Dr. Sally Curtis

Dr. Sunil Sharma

ext. 4229

ext. 4229

Registrars ext. 7516 (please leave message on answerphone)if urgent, bleep 8080
Virology Consultant Dr. Mohammed Osman Hassan-Ibrahim ext. 3584
Page 07623 809015

Scientific Staff



Head BMS

Clare Reynolds

ext. 4621


Chief BMS

Jackie Longbone

ext. 3678



Chief BMS

Gary Homer

ext. 4627

From 2nd June 2014 Virology staff will not answer the telephone until after 11.00 to help meet service demands. Instead you will hear a recorded answerphone message asking you to call back later. Please do not leave a message as staff will not be able to respond to your messages. Your completed results will already be available by your usual reporting system.

Urgent calls for clinical virology advice will still be accepted by Dr Hassan-Ibrahim as above.


IT Lead

Matthew Longbone

ext. 4594

Clinical advice

 A consultant 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 [bleep 8080 via RSCH switchboard (01273 696955)]

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

QVH consultant cover

A consultant microbiologist is available at QVH on Mondays and Thursdays on ext.4361. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays contact Microbiology at RSCH on 01273 664619. Alternatively, you can contact the microbiology specialist registrar at RSCH as listed above.

Environmental Microbiology Unit

The Environmental Microbiology Unit (EMU) offers UKAS accredited microbiological testing of a wide range of environmental samples to satisfy legislative, health and safety and hygiene monitoring requirements.

Main sample types tested are water, air, environmental swabs, settle and contact plates and food.

Laboratory opening hours are 08.30 - 17.00 Monday to Friday, and 09.00 - 17.00 Saturday (Sundays by prior arrangement).

Please contact the laboratory for individually tailored advice and sampling programmes, and for supplies of sampling requirements.

Tel: 01444 440996
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Senior staff

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Unit Manager

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Deputy Unit Manager