Latest News

  • Notification of change: Measurement of Methotrexate

    Item Author Emma Evans

    From Monday 2nd October samples for Methotrexate measurement will be analysed in the Department of Clinical Chemistry at Heartlands Hospital rather than sent away to UHB.

    By bringing this test in house we hope to provide better support for our clinical colleagues by turning around these very urgent samples within 4 hours.

    Methotrexate analysis will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please contact the laboratory (41185 / 0121 424 1185) and ask to speak to a biomedical scientist or biochemist before sending a specimen to ensure that your sample is dealt with promptly.

    **** There will be no change to specimen type or volume required***

    The new assay is awaiting accreditation and will be assessed by UKAS against ISO 15189 standard at our next  inspection in October.

  • Update on Blood Films

    Item Author Craig Webster

    Blood smears are normally spread and stained using a process on an automated platform which has been accredited to ISO 15189 standards with UKAS. In the event of analyser failure blood smears are manually spread and stained using manual techniques which has been validated against the automated method but is not yet accredited by UKAS. This does not affect the interpretation of the morphology.

  • Notification of changes to Histology Staining

    Item Author Craig Webster

    Haematoxylin and eosin platform change.

    We are changing our platform for the haematoxylin and eosin stain used for all routine histopathology cases to the Roche HE600 platform from Monday 4th September 2017. This is to allow us to improve the workflow and traceability of reagents used.

    The existing platform will remain in use as contingency and for macro slide staining.

    During slide review at MDT meetings you may notice a difference in the tone of the staining.
    This new platform will be assessed by UKAS against ISO 15189 standards at our next annual inspection in October.

    For further information about this change please contact the department on 0121 424 3188 and ask to speak to a senior member of staff.

  • HbA1c Analysis Affected by Extreme Environmental Factors

    Item Author Joanne Duffy

    Over the weekend of 8-9 July 2017 there was a failure of the air conditioning in the laboratory that performs HbA1c analysis. As a result the samples were exposed to unprecedented temperatures that ultimately affected the stability of the glycated haemoglobin in these samples.

    These samples have unfortunately had to be deemed unsuitable for analysis.

    We apologies for the inconvenience to anyone affected by this incident and have put steps in place to prevent this happening again.

    If you have any further queries about this incident, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Notification of change in service for the diagnosis of H Pylori Infections

    Notification of change in service for the diagnosis of H Pylori Infections

    Item Author Joanne Duffy

    The laboratories at HEFT are changing the way we diagnose H. pylori infections. Urease breath tests (UBT) and blood tests (helicobacter serology) will no longer be available from our laboratories with immediate effect. These tests are being replaced with a Stool Antigen Test (SAT).

    Guidance released in 2012 on the management of H. pylori (Management of Helicobacter pylori infection—the Maastricht IV/ Florence Consensus Report) indicates that the SAT is equivalent to UBT in terms of diagnostic performance and does not require a hospital appointment like UBT. Helicobacter serology is also not recommended by updated PHE guidelines for most patients (PHE H. pylori guideline).

    The stool antigen is reliable for both diagnosis and post eradication testing, provided the patient has avoided PPIs for 2 weeks and antibiotics for 4 weeks prior to sample collection.

    A stool sample is required and samples must arrive in the laboratory within 48 hours of collection. Patients should be advised to bring the properly labelled stool sample in a blue topped sample pot (picture below) to the GP surgery or laboratory reception as soon as possible after collection, ideally same day or next morning.

    If you have any queries relating to this notice, please do not hesitate to contact us:

    Duty Biochemist:

    Telephone: 0121 424 2000 (Bleep 2506)

This handbook encompasses all disciplines of Laboratory Medicine at Birmingham Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope Hospitals. It has been designed to provide the busy general practitioner and hospital doctor more readily available information regarding our services. 

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