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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.

Contacts for the Clinical Biochemistry Service:

For general result and specimen enquiries, clinical advice and key contact details for the clinical biochemistry service:  Click Here

Test Repertoire

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.  

Clinical Biochemistry test information is available: Click Here  

Clinical Biochemistry referred samples:Click Here

For information about turnaround times on referred samples please contact the Duty Biochemist on 01904 726366.

Dynamic Endocrine and Metabolic Function Protocols are available : Click Here

Routine Requests

We are able to perform measurements of single analytes if required but in practice tests tend to be grouped with other inter-related tests. These are as follows:

Renal:  Sodium, Potassium, Urea, Creatinine, eGFR

  • eGFR
  • The National Service Framework (NSF) for Renal Services has recommended that kidney function is measured by serum creatinine concentration together with a formula-based estimation of glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), on all samples from people who are aged 18 years and over. The formula is not recommended for some specific groups (children, acute renal failure, pregnancy, oedematous states, muscle-wasting disease, amputees and malnourished patients). 
  • We use a formula to estimate the GFR based on the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation using the serum creatinine concentration, age and sex of the patient. In addition all reports indicate a further multiplication which should be made to the reported value if the patient is of African-Caribbean ethnic origin ( If the patient is of afro-Caribbean origin multiply eGFR by 1.212). The calculation we make also incorporates correction factors which take into account the particular method and analyser that we use to measure the serum creatinine. These correction factors have been implemented across the UK to improve inter-laboratory agreement and aid correct diagnostic classification.
  • Guidance on further investigation and management of patients with chronic kidney disease can be found at

Bone:  Albumin, Calcium, Alkaline phosphatase, Phosphate
Liver:  Bilirubin, Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Albumin, Total protein

These test groups can be requested by ticking the appropriate boxes on the request form. 

If you only require a single test or selected tests from a group please indicate which tests are required by writing their names in the space below the request boxes . THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WITH LOW-VOLUME PAEDIATRIC SAMPLES when there may be insufficient sample to perform all the requested tests. The order in which the tests are written will determine priorities during sample analysis. This will ensure that the most needed tests are performed first.

Urgent Requests

Urgent Requests must be telephoned to alert the laboratory staff of their arrival. The request form must be clearly marked URGENT. Results will not be telephoned without prior verbal notification.

York: (01904 72) 6802 or BMS available on bleep 934 out of hours

Scarborough: (01723 34) 2351 or BMS available through hospital switchboard '0' out of hours

Add on Tests ( requesting further tests on samples already received in the laboratory)

For information:  Click Here

Frequency of assays

Most assays are performed daily but there are some assays performed less frequently dependant on numbers, clinical need and cost. Some samples are sent away to other laboratories for testing.

Turnaround Times

Turnaround times of samples are calculated from the time of receipt of the sample in the laboratory to when the result has been validated and is available to the user in electronic format for each analyte. Receipt of hard copy reports may take considerably longer.

Turnaround times for general chemistries on routine non-urgent samples such as U&E, LFT, Bone profile, and CRP and blood glucose are as follows. From receipt of samples the mean (50%) turnaround times for these tests is 45 minutes; 75% of samples are turned around in 1 hour and 95% of all samples analysed and reported within 2½ to 3 hours.

Urgent samples about which we have been telephoned are turned around within one hour of receipt.

For endocrine tests the turnaround times for 95% samples are as follows: thyroid function (24 hours), free T3 (24 hours), oestradiol, LH & FSH, & tumour markers (all 48 hours), testosterone (3 days), B12 & ferritin (24 hours) from the time of receipt. 

Turnaround times for samples referred to third party laboratories for analysis can also be supplied.  It should be noted that referral laboratories own figures do sometimes differ considerably from actual experience.

Test that are performed on the York site only are:

  • Endocrinology – Testosterone, SHBG, Oestradiol, Progesterone, Prolactin, IGF-1, Growth Hormone
  • Allergy testing – Common RAST tests (less common tests are referred to a specialist laboratory)
  • Cardiac markers – NTproBNP
  • Protein Electrophoresis – serum and urine
  • Drugs of abuse - urine
  • Ammonia
  • Xanthochromia

Please allow an extra 24h from the turnaround times listed above for these tests if samples are initially sent to Scarborough laboratory.  Results required urgently (e.g. xanthochromia, ammonia, drugs of abuse) should be discussed with the Duty Biochemist (772 6366) or on-call Biochemist (via switchboard).

Web page last updated: 2nd February 2017


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