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What is the location of the laboratory?

The Cytology department is located on the 5th Floor of the Royal Derby Hospital. Please report to pathology reception when visiting the department.


What services are offered by the laboratory?

Cervical Cytology

The cytology department carries out cervical Liquid Based Cytology (LBC) screening for all of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, East and Southern Staffordshire and South, East and West Lincolnshire regions. The laboratory has a computerised fail-safe mechanism to ensure follow-up of women with abnormal smears and facilitate 3 and 5 year recall. A direct referral scheme operates with the Colposcopy departments at the Hospitals within these areas for patients requiring investigation. MDT provision is provided by the lead cytologists.

Testing for High Risk-HPV in cervical LBC samples as part of primary HPV screening has not yet been accredited by UKAS within our department. The process has undergone rigorous validation and verification procedures, under the full guidance of the manufacturers Hologic inc, prior to laboratory implementation. The process is carefully monitored using appropriate quality control and quality assurance methods. An application has been submitted to UKAS for an extension to scope and the department is awaiting an outcome. 

Open Exeter: If access to the Open Exeter system is unavailable, please download and use this manual request form.

Cervical Cytology Request Form

Non-Gynae Cytology

This includes CSF specimens, a wide range of fine needle aspirations (FNA), endoscopic brushings and other exfoliative cytology specimens received from clinical directorates and General Practitioners.


What are the opening times of the laboratory?

The cytology laboratory is open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (except Bank Holidays).

What are the Turnaround Times (TAT) for Cytology?

 Cervical Cytology Screening Delays

Currently there are delays with the reporting of cervical screening samples across the area which Derby Cytology laboratory serves. This is also a national issue across the whole of England.

This is due to unprecedented increases in workload during the first six month of 2018 and a combination of staffing shortages plus the implementation of new technologies and screening pathways within the local NHS Cervical Screening Programme. Patients awaiting results should be aware that it could take up to three months for their sample to be reported.

The laboratory is in the process of implementing HPV Primary screening which will improve turnaround times and will enable the 14 day turnaround time to be achieved. 

Sample Type

Typical Sample Procedure to Result Distribution TAT

Cervical Cytology

98% within 14 days

Non-gynae Cytology

Usually within 10 working days       


CSF Cytology

Usually within 5 working days


What is the availability of clinical advice and interpretation and how do I obtain it?

All enquiries should be made on 01332 788233. This is an automated enquiry system and will direct you to the relevant individuals who can assist with clinical advice.


How do I correctly complete request forms/label samples and what information do I need to include?

What I need to include

What happens if I don’t?

A minimum of 3 patient identifiers

Cervical Cytology Samples

Non-gynae samples

Rejected sample

A reject report will be sent and the sample must be repeated after 3 months

You will need to attend the lab to identify samples

Clinician and location for report

Cervical Cytology - Sample taker code

Report Not Available

Without the correct originating source we cant allocate a destination for the report

A comment will be made on the report and an audit carried out of GP practices

Complete forms fully and accurately

Rejected Sample Or Compromised Diagnosis

Include as much patient information as possible
Failure to provide information may lead to unhelpful or inaccurate diagnosis

Complete forms legibly

Sample Incorrectly Registered

Illegible handwriting will not be interpreted
May result in errors or delays to results

Indicate the appropriate tests if applicable
Use the correct carriers or sample bags

Samples May Not Receive Correct Examination

Sample may not reach the correct destination
May result in errors or delays to results


Cervical Cytology

Please use only the pre populated and printed HMR 101 form from the Open Exeter system. It is the responsibility of the sender to complete all sections of the form accurately and clearly. Request forms and samples from patients that present a risk of infection from blood borne viruses should be clearly labelled with yellow 'Risk of infection' stickers.

Link to NHSCSP- website

Non-Gynae Cytology

Please use electronic requesting where possible or use Histology (white) request form. Each specimen sent to the laboratory must be accompanied by the relevant request form. It is vital that the form is completed legibly and as accurately and fully as possible. Failure to do so may lead to specimens being inappropriately dealt with or not being processed at all. Request forms and samples from patients that present a risk of infection from blood borne viruses should be clearly labelled with yellow ‘Risk of Infection’ stickers.

What are the sample requirements for cytology samples?

For sample requirements please refer to the Pathology test database link at the bottom of this document


Is there an out of hours service or shift system?

The laboratory does not offer any out of hour’s service.


Instructions for transportation of samples, including any special handling needs:

Cervical Cytology

Transportation is via the courier van system. Any internally generated samples should be taken to Pathology main reception on level 5.

Non-Gynae Cytology

All specimens must be sent to the laboratory immediately. If there is any delay e.g. at weekends, store the specimen in a fridge until it can be sent to the laboratory. Haematological CSF samples must be received in the cytology department prior to 4pm.


Information on those key factors which are known to affect the performance of the test or the interpretation of the results:

Cervical Cytology

Sample that are outside of the screening program i.e. under 25 year olds; early attendees will be rejected. The interpretation of result may be effected by the following, brush left in sample pot, incorrect sampling device; insufficient fluid in sample container, leaking or damaged sample pots on receipt in the laboratory.

Non-Gynae Cytology

If samples over 48 hours old have not been refrigerated, this may affect the interpretation of results. Inappropriate containers, leaking samples or damaged pots may also affect results.  

What are the time limits for requesting additional examinations?

Cervical Cytology

Colposcopic out of programme HPV requests, should be made at the time of the sample being taken. 

Non-Gynae Cytology

Specimens are kept for two weeks post receipt after which they are disposed of.

Referral of Specimens to Other Laboratories

Occasionally non-gynae samples require tests not available within the Pathology department and will need to be sent to other specialist centres.


Referral Centre

Frequency of referral

EGFR testing

Source BioScience

Reference Laboratory

1 Orchard Place

Nottingham Business Park




Pancreatobiliary cytology samples

Histopathology Dept

Nottingham University Hospitals

City Campus

Hucknall Road



When Consultant availability at Derby is limited

Eye Pathology Samples

Ophthalmic Pathology


E-Floor Royal

Hallamshire Hospital

Glossop Road 

Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

S10 2JF




Further Information

Link to test database

Link to NHSCSP- website

Important: If you choose to print this document, the copy is only valid on the day it is printed as the original may be updated as required to reflect changes in service provision

Last modified: 19/11/2018