National mycobacterium reference service (NMRS)

The National mycobacterium reference service (NMRS) in Birmingham is part of a network regional laboratories, 2 in England and 1 in Wales.  It is the largest TB laboratory in the Midlands and receives specimens from 39 other laboratories throughout the West and East Midlands. 

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is still a significant respiratory infection and TB cases have increased over the last twenty years.  Our results not only help with rapid patient diagnosis and treatment but also contribute to national and local surveillance programmes.

We provide primary testing of sputum, urine, tissue and other respiratory samples for Mycobacterium tuberculosis for the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) as well as a number of other local trusts.  The laboratory also uses the latest techniques, such as liquid culture and a range of molecular methods to provide full identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing and epidemiological typing of Mycobacterial isolates. 

We also provide a rapid TB detection test directly from respiratory samples or tissue without the need to grow the organism first and we are using whole genome sequencing which has revolutionised the diagnosis of Mycobacteria species.


Operational Lead: Mrs Priti Rathod

Clinical Lead: Esther Robinson

A complete list of currently available assays can be found in the pathology test database

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The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235