Pathology Handbook

General Pathology Information

The Pathology Directorate is committed to providing a client focussed service of the highest quality and shall be aware and take into consideration the needs and requirements of its users.

The Pathology department provides a comprehensive diagnostic service to Southend Hospital, South Essex Partnership Trust (Mental Health), the Spire Wellesley Hospital, The BMI Hospital and all GPs and community clinics within the South East Essex Primary Care Trust.

The laboratory is registered by the Health Professions Council as a training laboratory and regularly undergoes inspections by accreditation agencies including Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Cytology department is fully assessed by the NHSCSP (National Health Service Cervical Screening Programme). These agencies assess the laboratory against standards of all aspects of safety, quality and performance.

The department is situated on the first floor of the tower block in the main hospital. It is comprised of five clinical service departments:

  • Clinical biochemistry
  • Haematology/Blood transfusion
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Cellular Pathology (The Cytology department is located at the Pathology First Laboratory, Bentalls, Basildon, SS14 3BY)

Clinical advice is available 24hrs a day and the laboratory offers a 24hr 365 day service. Core hours range from 08:30 to 17:30 with an out of hours emergency service operating outside of these times.

Further information and contact details can be found in the web pages of the individual departments.


For the following, dial 01702 435555, and then enter the relevant extension number

General enquiries:


Pathology General Manager:

Ms. Deborah Packwood


PA to Pathology General Manager

Ms. Claire Vann


Pathology Support Services


Quality Manager:

Mr Mark Brookes


Pathology IT Systems Manager:

Mr Laurence Hazell


Sample labelling

Specimens will only be analysed if they are labelled in accordance with the departmental sample labelling policy

Sample acceptance criteria

Sending samples

Courier Transport services provide a courier service for samples from GP surgeries and outreach clinics. Specimens from within the hospital are brought to Pathology Reception by hand /porter or by the pneumatic tube system operating in the hospital.

For hospital investigations outside of routine hours, samples can be sent by pneumatic tube or left in the Out of Hours Pathology specimen box (located in Pathology Reception). In order to gain access to this box the appropriate key code must be entered to open the Pathology reception outside door. Blood cultures and CSF samples must NOT be sent via the pneumatic tube but delivered by hand. Blood cultures should be placed in the incubator in Pathology Reception. This is located on the shelf to the right immediately after entering through the key coded door. CSF samples must be placed in the Out of Hours Pathology specimen box.

All laboratory specimens are potentially hazardous. The Policy for the Transport of Pathology Samples (link below) describes the safe working practices for all staff engaged in the transport of clinical samples to the Pathology Laboratory and includes model rules for porters and couriers.

All clinical samples sent to the laboratory must be placed inside a sealed plastic bag and the request form placed in the side pocket of the bag. The request form should not be placed next to the samples.

Sample transport policy

Urgent samples

GP urgent work

Please telephone the laboratory (ext 5411) to speak to the appropriate department to arrange an urgently-required test

Accident & Emergency samples

The A&E dept. have special A&E red bags for urgent samples - these are only for use in by A&E staff. Requests from A&E should be made using the symptom based protocols on ICE

For A&E and other inpatient samples marked urgent we endeavour to have more than 90% of the results on essential tests available within 1 hour of receipt of the sample in Pathology. All essential tests results shall be available within 2 hours.

Quality policy

Click here for quality policy

Phlebotomy service

A phlebotomy service is available within the hospital, in the outpatients department and in several GP surgeries and out reach clinics.

Please click here for phlebotomy clinic times and locations

Phlebotomy Booking Line: 01702 422555
Opening hours 8am - 5pm, Monday - Friday 
(the booking line is not manned at weekends or on Bank Holidays)

The following clinics have wheelchair access:

  • Hockley clinic
  • Rayleigh clinic
  • Hadleigh clinic
  • Tyrell's clinic
  • Leigh clinic

Test directory

Confidentiality and Consent

Confidentiality of medical information relies on access to information being made only by those who have legitimate reasons to do so, as part of that person's medical care.

Breaches of confidentiality are contrary to the Data Protection Act and are considered disciplinary offences. For further information please see the Data Protection and Code of Confidentiality Policy

Consent to process the Pathology samples will be based on the submission of a request form to pathology or phlebotomy. Information based on the request may be shared with agreed referral laboratories and medical professionals to aid result interpretation. If information is requested to be disclosed to an external agency then the trust Caldicott guardian will be consulted and consent sought from the patient, as required.

Compliments and Complaints

Pathology aims to provide a high quality of service to patients and users. To do this we want to hear from you when we do well and also when we don't meet your expectations.

Patients should refer to the hospital web page for information on Compliments and Complaints.

Medical professionals should contact the departmental manager or Pathology Quality Manager if they wish to compliment the service or are unhappy with the service provided. Email: