Histopathology is the examination of biopsy or excision material
taken from a patient to detect and diagnose disease, disease
progression or response to treatment.
The Histopathology department at the University Hospital of
North Durham receives over 35,000 requests a year. It serves
three acute hospitals and GP's from the County Durham region, as
well as samples from dental practices and private healthcare
facilities. The laboratory holds UKAS accreditation for ISO
All routine specimens for histological examination should be
placed as soon as possible into 10% neutral buffered formaldehyde
solution (this can be obtained from the Histology
Department). The specimen to fixative volume ratio should be
approximately 1:20, therefore specimens should always be sent in an
appropriately sized container. Please note that this ratio
may not be achievable for larger specimen types. Specimens
unable to be sent to the laboratory the same day should be left in
fixative at room temperature (not in a refrigerator) at
(a) For urgent frozen section specimens
- results will be telephoned back, usually within 30 minutes of
receipt of the specimen within the laboratory (a typewritten report
will follow subsequently).
(b) For formalin fixed specimens
turnaround time depends upon several variables including the
specimen size and type, time of receipt etc. These affect
fixation and processing schedules. Please discriminate very
carefully any specimen on which an urgent report is required -
specimens identified as such have a marked knock-on effect onto ALL
of the rest of the laboratory activity and will therefore affect
turnaround time for the rest of your biopsies.
The Royal College of Pathologists guidelines state that 90% of
diagnostic biopsies should be reported within 7 days, and 90% of
all other samples (except those requiring decalcification) reported
in 10 days. The histology department strives to achieve these
turn around times.
The above times relate to the interval between the specimen
being taken and the report being signed and verified by the
The department participates in UK EQA schemes.
Semen analysis is offered at Bishop Auckland ACU. An
appointment system is in place for infertility samples and
post-vasectomy samples, and patients should ring BAGH on 01388
455845 to make an appointment. Instructions for patients can
be found here.
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital