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Laboratory Medicine

Laboratory Medicine (also known as Pathology) is the study of the nature of disease and its causes, development, processes and consequences.  Laboratory Medicine is part of, and provides laboratory services to, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and serves the associated community and primary care providers

Laboratories are situated on both the York and Scarborough hospital sites.  The expectation is that users of the service should see no significant difference in the level of service provided irrespective as to whether samples are sent to York or Scarborough for processing.  Laboratory Medicine is divided into a number of specialist departments:

  • Clinical Biochemistry including Point of Care Testing (POCT)
  • Haematology, Blood Transfusion and Immunology
  • Microbiology and Serology
  • Histology, Non-Gynae Cytology, and the Mortuary


 Web Page 1: Reviewed 18th December 2019

General Information

Information for Patients, Hospital Doctors, GPs, Healthcare Professionals and any other party who may wish to use the York & Scarborough Laboratories.

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Clinical Biochemistry

Clinical Biochemistry provides a 24-hour/365 day high quality analytical service to assist in the rapid diagnosis of disease. Testing undertaken includes routine biochemistry, endocrinology, toxicology and specific protein analysis. A twenty-four hour consultant led advisory service is also in operation. The Clinical Biochemistry department operates on both the York and Scarborough sites. We are able to measure over a hundred analytes in our laboratories and we can also arrange for specimens to be sent to other laboratories for measurements of analytes not performed at York or Scarborough.

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Point of Care Testing (POCT)

POCT operates as a section of Clinical Biochemistry but takes advice from other departments, as appropriate, to provide a comprehensive POCT service. The POCT team provides training and support for users on the York, Scarborough and Bridlington Hospital sites and also satellite units such as Easingwold and the community. The team covers all POCT, ranging from dipsticks to sophisticated analytical instruments.

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The Haematology department provides a high quality diagnostic service and is committed to achieving and maintaining the highest possible standards, delivering a 24 hour, 7 day per week comprehensive consultative and diagnostic service throughout the Trust and beyond. Haematology operates on both the York and Scarborough sites.

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Blood Transfusion

The Blood Transfusion department provides blood products for use in clinical emergencies and routine procedures over a 24 hour period, 7 days a week. Blood Transfusion Departments operate on both the York and Scarborough sites.

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Immunology is based solely at the York site. We have a comprehensive repertoire of tests available and we can also arrange for specimens to be sent to other laboratories for measurements not performed at our York or Scarborough sites.

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Microbiology and Serology

The department of Microbiology offers a high quality, 24-hour interpretative diagnostic Microbiology service to local hospitals and the community. As well as routine bacteriological culture, the department offers serological testing, liquid mycobacterial culture and rapid molecular detection techniques for the diagnosis of chlamydia. The department works in collaboration with the HPA and regional CCDCs to contribute to epidemiological surveillance and public health medicine. The Microbiology department operates on both the York and Scarborough sites.

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Histology aims to provide a high quality diagnostic pathology service to York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the wider community. Investigations undertaken to achieve this include routine histological technique and a wide range of special staining methods, while rapid diagnosis is available through the utilization of frozen section techniques. In Immunocytochemistry, a comprehensive repertoire of antibodies is used to identify tissue antigen sites as an aid to diagnosis, particularly in cancer.

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Non-Gynae Cytology & Andrology

The Non-Gynae Cytology and Andrology department provide a high quality diagnostic service in both Non-Gynaecological Cytology and Seminal fluid analysis, (including the Breast Cytology Screening Unit at York), within York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The NHS Cervical Screening Programme samples are now sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead for screening and reporting.

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The York Teaching Hospital Mortuary provides a high quality mortuary service to patients who die either in hospital or in the community and to their bereaved family and friends on both the York and Scarborough site. Scarborough Hospital is licensed with the Human Tissue Authority as a satellite location under the York Trust license. The Mortuary service ensures respect, dignity and sensitivity in handling the deceased and in playing a vital role in supporting bereaved families whilst also ensuring strict health and safety guidelines are followed.

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Blood taking, York Hospital

Due to COVID-19, from Monday 6 April the Phlebotomy service at York Hospital outpatient department will be closed until further notice.

We will continue to offer a blood taking services for patients who have urgent bloods requests only, at the nearby Nuffield Hospital. The urgency will have been identified during your medical appointment. Please access the Nuffield Hospital via the main reception and from there you will be directed to Phlebotomy. Please take a seat and wait to be called.

Patients who have routine blood test for yearly check-ups should not attend. Instead, please contact your GP to request an appointment at the GP surgery for your bloods to be taken.

Maternity services

If you are due to have a baby, please visit our website for up to date information about maternity services at this time

Haematology and Oncology services

With effect from Monday 6 April there will be temporary changes to the Haematology and Oncology services at Scarborough and York Hospital.  These decision have been made on the grounds of patient safety in the current coronavirus pandemic.  Find out more here.

Visiting cancelled

Due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus across the UK, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has made the decision to cancel all visiting to all its hospital sites in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

There are three exemptions to the ruling which are for one parent of a sick child under 18, for the partner of a woman giving birth and end of life patients at the discretion of the ward sister.

We would ask people to respect this decision and to treat our staff, who will be enforcing the visiting restrictions, with courtesy and respect.  For more information visit our website.

Outpatient appointments

We know that NHS services will come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and as a Trust we need to redirect staff, free up staff for refresher training and carry out any works as necessary, so we are able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak.  We also need to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals to protect our patients, as well as keeping our staff safe, well and able to come into work.

To do this, with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020, along with other trusts in the Humber Coast and Vale partnerships, we have made the collective decision to suspend all non-urgent routine outpatient appointments for at least three months.  Urgent and emergency cases and cancer appointments will be carrying on as normal.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you for your understanding.  We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried but please not contact the hospital as we will be contacting everyone directly affected in the coming days and weeks.

If you do not receive a letter or a phone call from the hospital, please turn up for your scheduled appointment as normal unless you have symptoms of coronavirus, a cold, flu or norovirus in which case you should contact us to cancel your appointment by clicking here.