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​Pathology Services at DCH

General Information


Nearly every patient of the NHS has had dealings with pathology services at some point in their care pathway.

Tests maybe be requested to look for abnormalities within samples, but quite often these tests are performed   to confirm everything is OK. Preventative screenings, tests can help with the early detection of potentially fatal conditions.

Pathology also plays a major role in ensuring that blood transfusions are safe.

The main specialties in pathology are:

Hospital Transfusion

Histopathology  (Histology, Non-Gynae Cytology)


Blood Sciences (Biochemistry, Haematology)

Microbiology (Bacteriology, Virology, Mycology and Parasitology)

Mortuary - Located on the ground floor North Wing

Associated Services


Specimen transport

Phlebotomy services/Specimen Collection


The Pathology Department is located on the 3rd floor North Wing

The Pathology department aims to provide a high quality pathology service to acute hospitals, community hospitals and General Practitioners in West Dorset and adjoining areas. The department has modern facilities, opened in 1987, at the Dorset County Hospital site and employs medical, scientific and clerical staff.

Each laboratory is headed by medically qualified consultants who are available for advice and help with patient investigations, interpretation of results and discussion of clinical problems. The laboratories are staffed by qualified Biomedical Scientists (BMS) supported by Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLA).

Throughout the department the laboratories are committed to providing a rapid, reliable and, above all, quality service to the clinicians and their patients. To this end the laboratories participate in a variety of external quality assessment (EQA) schemes to monitor their performance against other hospital departments. All the departments within Pathology have been accredited  by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to ISO15189:2012: Medical Laboratory requirements for quality and competence . Please see the UKAS website :, for the full  details of the accredited scope of practice for each department using the UKAS Customer Number; Microbiology (8647); Histopathology (10011); Blood Sciences (8656).  All departments are approved by  Institute of Biomedical Scientiest (IBMS) for the training of Biomedical Scientists (BMS).

The laboratories shares a fully computerised result storage and reporting system which can be accessed from terminals in hospitals throughout West Dorset. Many GP surgeries and hospital ward areas can also make electronic requests and receive results through software linked to the system.

Confidentiality is held with the highest regard in Pathology and all information is processed in line with the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice and Data Protection legislation.

For Test information please look at the Department page.

Laboratory Opening Hours

Pathology Specimen Reception is open 09:00 - 21:00 7 days a week

Blood Sciences (Biochemistry, Haematology and Hospital Transfusion)

The Blood Sciences Laboratory is staffed 24hr each day. However for significant periods 22:00 – 09:00 Mon - Fri and all day Weekends & BH there is only a skeleton staffing in the department. During these periods only emergency and urgent work is processed across Chemistry, Haematology and Blood Transfusion.  Please be aware that non-urgent tests will not be analysed during this period. 

Histology/Non-Gynae Cytology

The Histopathology laboratory is open from 07:00 - 17:30 Monday-Friday and is able to accept specimens until 17:15 daily.

Please note: The Histopathology department is not open outside the working hours detailed above and is not open during weekends or bank holidays

Bereavement Services

Opening hours general public 10:00 - 16:00 Monday-Friday


Opening hours 10:00 –15:30 Monday - Friday
Out of hours service is available via Switchboard for urgent requests as appropriate

Microbiology (Bacteriology, Viral and Bacterial Serology)

Opening hours 09:00 - 17:15 Monday - Friday
08:00 - 12:00 Saturdays

Outside these hours an on-call service is provided contact the duty Biomedical Scientist or Consultants via switchboard. For more information visit the Microbiology page.

Health & Safety

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

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

Measurement of uncertainty is available for quantitative results.  Please contact the specific laboratory for further information.

​Each request accepted by the department of pathology at DCHFT for examinations/tests is considered a service agreement.

If you have a comment or complaint about any of the services below, please ​click here

Which will take you to the Patient and Customer Services section of the website. This is not only for patients, relatives, carers and friends, but also GP's and other community staff, who would like to raise independent comments, complaints, concerns or compliments.

 You are also welcome to contact any of the below directly:

Contact Details

Paul DaviesInterim ​Pathology Services Manager

​Ext: 4344


​Sharon Wood​Pathology Quality Manager

​Ext: 4326



DCH Pathology Form DC