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Operational Details

General Details                             


UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) provides the Microbiology service for Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and the Good Hope Hospital (HGS), part of University Hospitals Birmingham Trust. All Microbiology work is performed at the Heartlands Hospital site where there is a new state of the art modern automated pathology laboratory.  The new pathology department is found at the rear of the hospital opposite the Yardley Green road entrance.


  • Our laboratory provides support for the investigation, management and control of infection and outbreaks of communicable diseases both during and out of normal working hours.
  • Expert medical and scientific microbiological advice, including access to UKHSA experts locally and nationally as necessary.
  • A wide range of diagnostic, specialist and reference tests
  • National standard methods and UKHSA testing algorithms


Hours of opening

The Microbiology laboratory is open from

  • 07.00 to 20.00 hours Monday to Friday
  • 08.00- 16.00 hours on Saturday and bank holidays
  • 08.00- 16.00 hours on Sunday


Download our request forms:

For information on how to fill out request forms please click here

Hospital Microbiology Request Form

GP Microbiology Request Form

Please note that some of our tests (Antiviral Resistance Testing Service, 16S PCR and E.coli O157 STEC) require the use of specific request forms. Please find these on the individual service pages.

Information on Out-of-Hours Service

The Microbiology Laboratory provides a 24-hour, 365 day investigation and clinical advisory service. This is accessible via the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust switchboard if outside the normal hours of opening.

The laboratory is committed to having an out of hours analytical and advice service that will meet the emergency demands of the clinical users.

Contacting on-call staff

On-call staff may be contacted via the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust switchboard on 0121 424 2000.

  • Requests to process specimens - ask for Duty MicrobiologyTechnician.
  • Requests for urgent clinical/infection control advice - ask for the Duty Clinical Microbiologist or Virologist.


On-call specimens are restricted to those where results of rapid tests are likely to affect the immediate management of the patient.

The following tests will be examined on request:

  • CSF - microscopy and initial cultures
  • Knee Aspirates
  • Ascitic Fluids
  • PD (Peritoneal Dialysis) Fluid
  • Tissues from Theatre

Other specimens are examined at the discretion of the Duty Biomedical Scientist who may ask the requesting doctor to discuss the case with the Duty Clinical Microbiologist. Please contact the on-call microbiology technician through switch board out of hours for any urgent samples to be processed.

Virology requests/enquiries should all be referred to the Duty Clinical Virologist., e.g.

  • Needlestick injuries
  • VZV immunity
  • Issue of immunoglobulins/vaccines
  • RSV antigen
  • Avian Influenza (including H7N9)

Results (Out of hours)

There is no out-of-hours service for looking up results. Urgent/important results will be telephoned as soon as available by the Duty Biomedical Scientist, Microbiologist or Virologist.

Authorised results are available on iCare

It is the responsibility of the doctor requesting the test to ensure contact details for reporting are made clear.

Should you require clinical advice and interpretation of results please contact Duty Microbiologist/Duty Virologist. For their contact numbers please refer to contacts page.


Result Availability

The laboratory is committed to providing results in the fastest possible time and working towards improving turn-round times by improvements in existing methods, the introduction of new technologies and the streamlining of pre and post analytical processes. The directorate test database details the times from receipt of the specimen to availability of the result in the laboratory, for all routine, specialist & reference services.

Trust results are available on iCare

Results are available electronically to external laboratories via the UKHSA e-lab portal.This allows the users to download a pdf version of the report. For more information see

Should you require clinical advice and interpretation of results please contact the Duty Microbiologist/Duty Virologist via switchboard.

For general enquiries and results please contact the laboratory on (0121) 424 3111


The laboratory complies with The Security of Pathogens and Toxins (Exceptions to Dangerous Substances) Regulations Antiterrorism Bill 2002. The laboratories at this site are registered and comply with police security standards for access to the premises.

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