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Pathology Handbook

Notice Board – Latest in Pathology: 14/08/17 – Primary care providers may request additional tests via a dedicated email account  Requests are actioned Mon –Fri 9am – 5.30pm.

To navigate the Handbook, use the menu on the left hand side or the ‘Quick Access links in the table below.

Key Pathology Information – Quick Access Table

Use the links in the table below to access frequently used and important information, such as blood test and other information relating to specimen collection, reference ranges, specimen turnaround times and contact information.

Specimen Collection Information Blood Sample Collection Guide (PDF) 

  • Pathology-wide list of blood tests with information on which blood tube to use, how many tubes are required and any other special instructions relevant to each test.
Time limits for Requesting Additional Tests                  

Cellular Pathology – Specimens are retained for up to 4 weeks, blocks & slides are retained for 30 years

Vacutainer Guide (PDF) Click here 

  • Overview of blood tube types and the tests for which they are suitable, including draw order for multiple tubes
Specimen Storage Guidance (PDF) Click here 

  • For when a delay in transporting specimens to the laboratory is unavoidable
Biochemistry Tests – A to Z Click here

  • Fasting adult reference ranges
  • Which tube colour to use
  • Turnaround times
Turnaround Times (TAT) Click here 

  • A link to the Handbook TAT page
Haematology Tests – A to Z Click here

  • Fasting adult reference ranges
  • Which tube colour to use
  • Turnaround times
Pathology Computer System
Click here

  • Printable ‘Result Enquiry User Guide’
  • How to gain access to look up Pathology results
  • Result Enquiry training process
Blood Transfusion Investigations Click here

  • Which tube type to use for which test
  • Turnaround times
  • Two sample rule
Contacting the Laboratory          Click here

  • List of staff and laboratory telephone numbers
  • Submit a question / suggestion / complaint
Microbiology Specimens Click here

  • Description on how to collect specimens
  • Which specimen containers to use
Testing Times Newsletters (PDF)Click here

  • Current and back copies of the pathology newsletter – printable
Cellular Pathology Specimens Including:

Quality of Service Click here

  • Pathology Quality Policy
  • Quality control
  • Audit
  • External Assessment
  • Uncertainty of measurement


































North Devon Pathology Service is part of the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and based at the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple.

The pages within this Pathology website are designed for health professionals who use our service. It is not intended to provide information for the general public.

What does a Laboratory Pathology Service Do?

We provide the ‘engine room’ of modern medicine with 80% of diagnoses based on the Pathology results provided by laboratory services. With  an estimated 150 million samples being analysed by Pathology staff  in the UK, every person at some point in their lives will have benefited from Pathology Services.

The Pathology Service is at the heart of the medical team providing other professionals with vital scientific information that allows them to do their job properly. When a major incident occurs it is Pathology staff that ensure the right amount of blood reaches the right patient at the right time. We measure vital blood chemicals to monitor patient conditions and detect signs of internal bleeding. Accident and emergency wards would shut down, organ transplants could not take place and premature babies would struggle to survive without our support. Whenever you have a sample taken from you by a doctor or nurse, it is usually analysed by a biomedical scientist in a Pathology laboratory. Quite simply, without our help and support doctors would frequently be unable to diagnose diseases properly or treat their patients effectively.

NOTE: If printed, information on this page is only valid on day of printing.