The Haematology Laboratory aims to provide a comprehensive routine and emergency diagnostic service. In the interests of efficiency and effectiveness the service is delivered with the majority of investigations being performed in-house wherever numbers, service demands and costs allow. We are dedicated to providing the best analytical service possible. To this end there are always people available to offer advice, assistance with interpretation and help in deciding on further investigations. In the same vein, further tests will be cascaded where it is practical and will help the investigation.

The role of the Haematology laboratory is to investigate haematological disorders including those which affect the white cells, red cells, platelets and haemostasis.


Haematology is a Consultant led service with scientific and technical laboratory staff always available to answer queries and provide help


Day to day advice can be obtained by contacting the Laboratory.  Where clinical advice is required the consultant Haematologist may be contacted.

Laboratory Hours

The laboratory is staffed to provide 24hr a day service with the following patterns:

Monday to Friday:

7am – 9am Single staff member on duty

9am – 5pm ‘Core hours’ where most staff are on duty including senior staff

5pm – 10pm Reduced staff numbers

10pm – 7am Single staff member on duty

Weekends/Bank Holidays: – Single staff member on duty

Test Repertoire

A searchable list is available in the Tests section of the website. This section will give details of tests available, collection details, reference ranges and units, telephone criteria, turnaround times and any appropriate comments. Certain tests may require clinical authorisation prior to release of results or the addition of further investigations.

Where tests are not performed on-site these will be indicated as ‘Referred’ and the turnaround times will be listed as those given by the referral laboratory whenever available. In the absence of this information it may be based on experience and hence may be an approximation.

The referral centres employed by SoTW Clinical Laboratory Services are selected based upon their UKAS accreditation status and their ability to meet the needs of our users. The laboratory periodically reviews the quality of these referral centres.  Referred tests are indicated within the turnaround section of each individual Tests listing.


Where available, all requests should be made using the appropriate electronic ordering system:

Meditech Order Management – CHS and South Tyneside Hospital requests

Clinisys ICE – GH Hospital requests, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland CCGs,

Samples sent to the laboratory must include the following:

On manual/ICE request forms a contact or bleep number is extremely useful.  Samples sent from GP practices should also include up to date contact information for the patient (e.g. telephone number and home address) so that the deputising service is able to deal effectively with grossly abnormal results when necessary. It is imperative that the tests required are detailed on the request.

It is extremely important for relevant Clinical Details to be included on the request. This helps us to help you by giving advice and interpretation where necessary and to add other useful tests when indicated. The date and time the sample is taken should also be included.

All samples must be labelled with the sample label. Samples should also be taken into the correct type of tube, if in doubt refer to the Tests page or contact the Laboratory for advice. Ideally a separate sample for each department is required but there are exceptions to the rule, e.g. patients very difficult to bleed, neonates.

To safeguard patients against wrong treatment, samples with discrepant details will NOT be processed and the requesting source will be notified.

Additional tests may be added to samples held in the department if appropriate to do so.

All High Risk or Hazardous samples MUST be double bagged and marked as such with Danger of Infection labels.

They should never be sent to the laboratory in the pneumatic air tube system

please hand deliver them to the Laboratory wherever possible

Reference Ranges

All reported numerical results are accompanied by an appropriate age and gender related reference range where this is applicable. Adult reference ranges are given in the Tests section where appropriate.

Abnormal Results

Abnormal results which fall within the defined telephone criteria will be communicated to the requestor. Telephone criteria is available within the Tests section.

Uncertainty of Measurement

Uncertainty of measurement values have been determined and applied to Haematology and Blood Transfusion assays for both normal range and critical limits.  Link to uncertainty of measurement values


Refer to assay table for sample requirements.

Turnaround Times

The “Routine” haematology tests are analysed on receipt which gives a turnaround time in the laboratory as given in the Tests section. These are expected ROUTINE turnaround times at times of normal laboratory function.

URGENT samples can be turned around in less than 90 minutes (may be longer to include check, repeat and cascade analysis). This turnaround time is reduced to 60 minutes for Emergency Care samples.

Where tests are referred to a reference Laboratory turnaround times are dependent on the referral Laboratory. This means that turnaround can vary between 2 days to several weeks depending on the test (contact the Laboratory for any specific enquiry).

The referral centres employed by SoTW Clinical Laboratory Services are selected based upon their UKAS accreditation status and their ability to meet the needs of our users. The laboratory periodically reviews the quality of these referral centres.  Referred tests are indicated within the turnaround section of each individual test listing.

Quality Assurance

The Laboratory endeavours to make quality a fundamental component of all its work, and to continually monitor its performance and improve deficiencies.

All analyses are subject to internal quality control procedures, involving analysis of “QC” samples with known values to check that the analysis remains accurate and precise.

In addition all analyses are subject to External Quality Assurance procedures involving the blind analysis of samples distributed from nationally recognised Reference Centres. These allow the accuracy and precision of this Laboratory’s results to be compared with other laboratories in the country and with reference values.

The Laboratory performance in External Quality Assurance is available on line.

The Department is accredited to ISO15189:2012 and ISO22870:2016; our full scope of accreditation is published on the UKAS website.