[Skip to content]

Print this page


About Derby Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust Microbiology Department

The Microbiology Department is situated on level 5 of the Royal Derby Hospital (RDH). The Department of Microbiology is a modern laboratory that processes approximately 400,000 specimens per year. It is part of the Pathology Business Unit which in turn is part of the Diagnostics, Surgery and Anaesthetics Division of the Hospital.

The laboratory provides a comprehensive, UKAS accredited, clinical service covering bacterial, viral and molecular investigations for the Royal Derby Hospital, London Road Community Hospital, Kingsway Hospital as well as 13 other hospitals in the Derbyshire Community Health Service and the surrounding General Practitioners of Derby City and Derbyshire.

What services are offered by the laboratory?

The department provides a full analytical service during office hours and weekend mornings. There is 24hr, 7 days a week cover provided for clinical advice by a consultant and urgent specimen processing by a Biomedical Scientist. Please see the Pathology Test Database for a comprehensive list of all tests carried out in microbiology and their turn around times; this also includes specific information for sample collection for certain test types.

For additional testing of samples previously submitted to Microbiology, please contact the relevant department via the Microbiology Call Tree

What are the opening times of the laboratory?

The opening hours for Bacteriology are Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays): 8am - 8pm and Saturday-Sunday (including Bank Holidays): 08:30 am - 12:30 pm. 

The opening hours for Virology/Serology are  Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays): 09:00 am -17:00 pm.

Please contact the Microbiology out of hours service via switchboard out of the above times.

If an urgent sample is in need of processing then the on-call Biomedical Scientist can be contacted, via switch board, outside of these hours.  This service is for in-patients only.

Top of the page

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


Microbiology does not offer diagnostic services to members of the public except via a registered medical practitioner.  Results can only be issued to the requesting physician or medical unit and will not be given to patients directly under any circumstances.  The authenticity of callers is checked in order to protect the confidentiality of patients personnel details, as per the Information Governance Policy.  For results and advice, please contact your GP.


For all microbiology test results please check ICM or Anglia. In case a result cannot be accessed please contact Pathology enquiries for authorised results on 01332 789400. Alternatively, contact via the Microbiology Call Tree on 01332 788218.

The laboratory can answer general queries that cannot be resolved using the website, this telephone service is only available between the opening hours of Monday-Friday 8:45 am -17:15 pm (excluding Bank Holidays) and Saturday-Sunday (including Bank Holidays) 08:30 am - 12:30 pm.  For urgent out of hours advice and information contact Royal Derby Hospital Switchboard on 01332 340131. 

Results cannot be emailed or faxed out to the requester as per the Information Governance PolicyResult reports will be delivered electronically (via ICM or ICE), or will be printed and delivered by post.

Top of the page

Preparation of the patient

Ensure that the patient is fully informed as to the nature of the investigation to be performed and their consent is obtained.  They should understand what the procedure involves, why they need it and what the consequences may be if the investigation is not performed.

Where a patient has to go away and obtain a sample themselves they should be fully instructed in the procedure for obtaining that specimen.

Top of the page

How do I label a sample?

What I need to include
What happens if I don’t?

A minimum of 3 patient identifiers

Rejected sample 

You will need to attend the lab to identify samples

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

That the sample type on the request form match the sample type received.

Delay in results or possible sample rejection. 

You will need to contact the lab to clarify the situation. 

Failure to provide information may lead to insufficient sample testing.

Check integrity of sampling device.

Sample Rejection

Swabs etc which are out of date will not be processed.

Samples which leak in transit to the laboratory poses a health and safety risk to staff and patients.  If deemed high risk a IR1 will be performed.


How do I complete a request form?

Please use electronic requesting where ever possible. Information on the ICE/ Anglia system is available through the Pathology IT team on (01332) 787021. Further information and training on the OCRR system is available through the hospital IT department on ext 85777.

Every sample sent to the laboratory must be accompanied with a relevant form, one form per sample taken.

Please include clinical details to ensure that the sample is processed appropriately. Any samples that do not carry the patients’ details will not be processed in line with the policy. The Microbiology department requires a minimum data set of First Name, Surname, DOB and NHS/Hospital number or First line of Address for samples to be processed.

Is there an out of hours service or shift system?

See opening times. This service is for sample testing that will immediately affect patient management.

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

The person who collects the specimen has the responsibility of ensuring the samples reach the laboratory promptly. GP surgeries are provided with a courier service via either the hospital transport system through Andrea Shaw (Facilities management) or Derwent Shared Services on (01332) 622416.

Please note: If specimens are not transported by either the Pathology courier service or the hospital transport service, for example if they are sent by taxi, then it is the senders responsibility to ensure that samples are packaged in accordance with the Department of Transport regulations for the transport of infectious substances.

DELAY IN TRANSPORT: If samples cannot be transported to the lab on the same day please fridge them with the exception of blood cultures and cervical swabs for Gonorrhoea (GC).

PLEASE ensure that when sending samples I containers with lids, to ensure that the lids are correctly and fully closed.  Failure to do so may lead to the sample being rejected.

Factors which are known to affect the performance of the test or the interpretation of the results

Clinical Details

Clinical Details are essential.  Failure to provide this information may mean the most appropriate investigations are not performed.  Details needed are:

  • Site sample was collected from.
  • The type of sample collected.
  • History of foreign travel.
  • Animal contact and occupation (if relevant).
  • Current or recent treatment with antibiotics/antivirals should be provided.
Delay in Transport

Please ensure that all samples are delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible to ensure the viability of any organisms. See the Pathology Test Database for any specific requirements.

All Microbiology samples should be refrigerated once collected whilst awaiting collection except, any samples with suspected N.gonorrhoea infection, swabs for Chlamydia investigations, Blood Cultures and Skin/Nail samples for fungal investigations.  Rapid transport of all samples is recommended.
Inappropriate specimen site or transport medium
Optimal recovery of the target organisms will not be possible.  Please see the Pathology Test Database to ensure that the correct procedure is followed.

What are the time limits for requesting additional examinations?

Bacteriology samples are not always suitable for additional tests. Additional tests on serology blood samples can be added to at later date if appropriate. Please contact Microbiology via the call tree on 01332 788218 to discuss additional test requests.

Further Information

Link to the Pathology Test Database

Last modified: 17/04/2018