If the full blood count results are abnormal or there is a specific indication on the request form, a blood film will be stained and examined microscopically. Blood films are spread and stained by a UKAS accredited automated method however in the event of analyser failure blood smears will be manually spread and stained which is currently an unaccredited procedure. Blood films requiring clinical comment will be referred to a Haematology Consultant or Registrar. Delay or marked temperature changes in transit can affect morphology.
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This is the standard haematological inflammatory marker, performed in the laboratory, although CRP is the preferred test (Biochemistry request). The ESR may be performed on the same EDTA sample sent for FBC if sufficient.
Full Blood Count
A full blood count consists of haemoglobin, total white cell and differential counts, platelets and full red cell indices. All of these values are provided using a single EDTA sample. Please note that if venepuncture is difficult and mixing with anticoagulant delayed, micro-clot formation may cause a falsely low platelet count.
The laboratory provides a comprehensive consultant-led service providing both diagnostic and clinical advice 24h/day. The laboratory provides services to GP's by direct access and to Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals. There are close links with the Clinical Haematology service.
A comprehensive diagnostic services is provided. For results contact the Laboratory Medicine Results Line on ext 41185. If you need to contact the laboratories please telephone ext 40908 (Heartlands), ext 47279 (Good Hope) or ext 44527 (Solihull). Overnight and weekends contact the laboratories via bleep 2449 (Heartlands) or bleep 8779 (Good Hope). Consultant advice is available via the laboratory or the Heartlands switchboard.
Please note: Hb and MCHC results are now reported in g/L instead of g/dL in line with national guidelines. This means a Hb previously reported as 12.5 g/dL will be reported as 125 g/L
Screening for thalassaemia and variant haemoglobins (such as Sickle haemoglobin) is performed within the Haematology laboratory at Heartlands Hospital for all Trust sites and GP's. Patients may require haemoglobinopathy testing as part of ante-natal screening or pre-operative assessment.
Requests should be made on a Haematology request form and sent with a 4ml EDTA sample for analysis. We are unable to reflex haemoglobinopathy screening on suspected full blood counts results without a request. Ante-natal requests should be accompanied with a Family Origin Questionnaire.
Occasionally samples are referred to Central Middlesex Hospital, London or John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford for confirmation of new or unusual variants or for alpha thalassaemia testing.
For further information or advice please contact the laboratory on extension 40198 or check the Test Database.