Laboratory Medicine

LP-GEN-0007 LabMed User Guide Version 9

The Centre for Laboratory Medicine & Molecular Pathology (LabMed) at St James’s Hospital is responsible for the overall management and development of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory Services in support of St James’s Hospital, General Practitioners (GPs), other hospitals and external agencies and acts as a reference laboratory for many specialties throughout the country.

The laboratory provides a wide range of laboratory examinations including scientific and clinical advisory services to help in the diagnosis of illnesses and the monitoring of the treatment of those illnesses. The laboratory is divided into seven main scientific and clinical specialties and three national reference laboratories. Further details on each laboratory department are available by clicking on the department name on the menu on the right. Links to the three national reference laboratories are below:

This guide contains a fully searchable database of all the investigations undertaken by the Centre for Laboratory Medicine & Molecular Pathology. Full information for each investigation performed is available by clicking on the investigation name on the search results page. All search fields are optional.  Search by department to access the full A to Z repertoire of investigations offered by that department.


Opening Hours

The general laboratory medicine opening hours are from 08.00 to 20.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturday. An out-of-hours on-call service is provided by some departments outside these times. Contact details and phone numbers during routine hours and during on-call periods are detailed in each department’s section of the guide.

Turnaround Times

Turnaround times are stated for all investigations in the search results page and vary from less than one hour to several weeks, depending on the nature of the investigation. Turnaround times stated in days refer to working days, and exclude week-ends and public holidays.

Acceptance Criteria for Requests

The Centre for Laboratory Medicine & Molecular Pathology strongly encourages the use of electronic systems for ordering of investigations, where these are available. Acceptance criteria and instructions for the completion of manual request forms and labelling of specimens are detailed in "Policy for specimen handling and collection", “Policy on the Provision of Laboratory Services to External Agencies” and “General Practitioners – Pathology Services Policy”, which are available as links in the Policies & Guidelines section on the right, along with the laboratory’s policy on the transport of specimens.

Laboratory Reference Ranges in Pregnancy

For those laboratory tests that have separate ranges for males and females, all ranges quoted on laboratory reports for females are for non-pregnant females.

If the patient is pregnant, many laboratory parameters will have different reference ranges to those for non-pregnant females. In addition, different ranges apply at different stages of the pregnancy. As pregnancy status and gestational age are rarely provided on laboratory requests the laboratory is not in a position to report pregnancy-specific reference ranges for laboratory tests.

Clinicians must note that the interpretation of laboratory test results in pregnant patients should be based on the particular circumstances and gestational age, rather than on the reference ranges for non-pregnant females available in this User Guide. Please contact the relevant laboratory department for further information.

Manual GP Request Forms

The most up-to-date versions of the laboratory’s request forms for GPs (which include the current repertoire of investigations available to GPs) are available for download by clicking on “GP Request Forms” on the menu on the right.

Phlebotomy Information

In cases where more than one blood specimen is to be taken from a patient there is a recommended sequence in which specimens should be taken – the Tube Order of Draw. The Phlebotomy Tube Order of Draw (Tube Order of Draw) is available as a link in the Policies & Guidelines section of the site.

Delays in Transport of Specimens to the Laboratory

Specimens should be transported to the laboratory without delay so as to protect them from deterioration and to ensure accurate results.  If any delay in transport is anticipated, specimens should be stored in a manner and under conditions that retain the integrity of the sample and ensure its suitability for subsequent analysis. The specific requirements in respect of storage temperature, protection from light, sample separation etc. are detailed in the individual pages for each examination in this Laboratory User Guide.  Where such storage requirements have not been met, the laboratory may not process the specimen, or may report the results with appropriate comments relating to the interpretation of those results.

Disclaimer: St James's Hospital provides this website as an information resource. The information provided does not in ANY way represent medical care or attention. We recommend that you seek the advice of your doctor if you have any query or question regarding Laboratory Investigations (Tests) and before you start any new treatment. All information given is as up to date and accurate as possible. We are not responsible for any misprints or errors. We bear no responsibility for the use (or misuse) of any information given on this website or accessed through this site. We welcome your suggestions or comments regarding the content of this website.