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Microbiology

Introduction

The Microbiology department at Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust (DCHFT) offers Bacteriology, Virology, Serology, Parasitology and Mycology testing as well as advice to DCHFT, local community hospitals, General Practitioners and Environmental Health Officers. It also provides an Infection Control advice, as well as being an acceptance point for environmental samples to be sent to Porton food, water and environmental services. There are staff available that have been trained in the specialist area of the deliberate release of biological agents.

The laboratory provides epidemiological data for the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre based in the Health Protection Agency at Colindale, and investigates outbreaks/incidents of infectious disease in support of the Consultant in health Protection.

  • Microbiology labortaory opening times and on-call service
  • Test Repertoire
  • Consultant Advice
  • Infection Control Advice
  • Results
  • Telephone results
  • Staff and telephone numbers
  • Supply of specimen containers
  • Request forms
  • Health & Safety
  • General information
  • Collection of Blood Cultures

 

Test Repertoire

For test repertoire and information on specific microbiology tests including turn-around-times and urgent request procedures - click here

  

Laboratory opening times and on-call service  

  • Normal hours of service

Most routine specimens are accepted during the following hours:

Monday to Friday 9am to 5.15pm
Saturday 9am to 12 noon

Sunday and Bank Holidays on site as required

  • Outside normal hours of service (on-call)

Please Note: The Microbiology on-call staff do not work the same shift patterns as Blood Sciences and MUST be contacted for urgent tests required outside of routine hours.

There is a 24-hour on-call service. The on-call Biomedical Scientist (BMS) can be contacted via the hospital switchboard. Specimens will be processed outside normal laboratory hours if requested and agreed criteria are satisfied.

Appropriate specimens for urgent examination on-call include:

  • cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • operative specimens such as biopsies or pus including drainage of empyema
  • urine microscopy in children where it may influence the decision for acute abdominal surgery
  • cultures in pyrexial patients with neutropenia or in labour

 

Consultant Advice

Always check policies and refer to senior staff before contacting the Consultant Microbiologist for advice

For advice on diagnosis and the interpretation of microbiology results or antimicrobial use, contact the duty Consultant Microbiologist.

  • During normal working hours (as above) contact Duty Consultant on Ext 4343. If the consultant is not immediately available, a message will be taken by lab staff and replied to as soon as possible. If a more urgent response is required, the consultant can be paged via switchboard.

 

  • Outside of normal hours contact duty Consultant via the hospital switchboard. Out of Hour calls should be made by doctors at registrar level or above. However, calls will be accepted from other grades for urgent advice on patients if team seniors are not available in a timely manner.

Please have the following information available when calling for advice, as consultants may be covering from home without access to electronic system.

  • Previous microbiology results
  • Current antibiotics  and dose
  • Previous antibiotics in the past month
  • Details of antibiotic allergies
  • Current and previous inflammatory markers
  • Renal and liver function

 

There are cross-cover arrangements with Salisbury District Hospital over weekends.

Infection Control

Infection Control Information and Resources – Please click here  (Internal users only)

For Infection Control telephone enquiries: 01305 253279

Results

Always check the ICE laboratory information system (LIMS) for results before telephoning the laboratory. If results are not available on the computer an update may be available from the laboratory on Ext 4338.

Reports are available electronically every working day. Most bacteriology culture results are reported after 2-5 days, depending on the investigation. Urine microscopy results are available on the day of receipt Monday to Saturday lunchtime. Serology and virology results and reporting depends on the frequency of testing and the urgency of the request.

Telephone results

Results of urgent requests will be available on the computer as soon as possible. Urgent results that cannot be entered onto the computer for whatever reason will be telephoned if they will aid immediate patient management. This includes all positive blood cultures and CSF results.

Staff and telephone numbers

General laboratory/Results telephone: 01305 254343



Name and email addressTelephone number/
extension
Consultant Microbiologist/Clinical Lead

Dr Cathy Jeppesen

cathy.jeppesen@dchft.nhs.uk

Ext 4340
Consultant Microbiologist
Consultant Microbiologist
Head BMSPaul Davies
paul.davies@dchft.nhs.uk
Ext 4344

 

Supply of specimen containers

Most sample containers are obtained via the stores supply system.

The following are obtained direct from the laboratory by phoning 4338

  • Blood culture bottles - store at room temperature in the dark. Keep bottles of each set together and return any unused bottles. Tell laboratory staff if you require ordinary sets or those sets for patients on antibiotics.
  • Chlamydia collection kit – store at room temperature.
  • Per nasal swab/plate kits for whooping cough - store at 4oC.
  • Virus transport media for NPAs (nasopharyngeal aspirate) – store at room temperature.
  • TB urine kits

All other supplies are obtained via the normal hospital supplies system.

Request forms

A hand-written, printed or ICE request form must accompany all specimens sent to the laboratory. It should clearly state the following information: Comprehensive Clinical

Information is essential - Please click here for further information on specimen and request form acceptance criteria
  

Health & Safety

See information from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP).

HSE    http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/infection.htm
ACDP http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130107105354/http://dh.gov.uk/health/about-us/public-bodies-2/advisory-bodies/acdp/


 

General information

The best results are obtained when an appropriate, well taken specimen, in the proper container, is delivered to the laboratory promptly and relevant clinical information is provided on the request form.

For specific instructions on methods of sample collection, specimen containers, sample volumes and requirements for transport and storage click here(Collection of Microbiological Specimens Policy).

General guidelines on microbiology specimen collection are:

  • Do not send specimens in non-sterile containers
  • Where possible specimens should be obtained before antimicrobial agents have been administered
  • An adequate quantity of material should be obtained for complete examination. Always send pus ( in a universal container) rather than a swab of the pus
  • The specimen taken should be representative of the disease process. For example, material swabbed from the opening of a sinus tract is more likely to yield commensal organisms on the skin than would material obtained by curettage or biopsy of the base of the tract
  • Care must be taken to avoid contamination of the specimen by micro-organisms normally found on the skin and mucus membranes. Sterile equipment and aseptic technique must be used for collecting specimens, particularly for those from normally sterile sites
  • Material must be transported promptly to the laboratory. Fastidious organisms may not survive prolonged storage or may be overgrown by less fastidious organisms before culture can be undertaken.

Please contact the laboratory if there is any doubt about the best specimen to take or concerning the availability of a test

 

Collection of Blood Cultures

The document 'POLICY FOR TAKING BLOOD CULTURES' can be found on the Infection Prevention and Control intranet site. Please click here

It contains full information on the rationale for blood culture sampling, indications for sampling, when to take samples, procedure for taking blood cultures and the equipment required.