Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology

The department has a laboratory at each of the two main hospital sites and a specimen reception area at Mexbrough Montagu hospital…

The laboratories provide a comprehensive Biochemistry and Immunology testing service for all GP practices in the Doncaster and Bassetlaw areas as well as for the inpatients and outpatients areas within the Trust and other local hospitals. The two laboratories receive more than 1200 patient samples per day, half of which come from GPs.

Biochemistry is a specialised application of chemistry to biological samples. We help to diagnose diseases and monitor treatment by measuring a variety of proteins, hormones, cancer markers, drugs and other chemicals present in the liquid part of blood.  We also measure many substances in urine and occasionally other sample types.

The department is extremely well equipped with modern automated machines which perform most of the testing. If a blood result is required urgently (for example to manage a patient in A&E or on the Intensive Care Unit) these machines assist in producing a result quickly once the sample is received in the laboratory. This ’emergency’ part of our service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The majority of samples arriving in the laboratories are less urgent (or routine) samples. Most of these samples are processed on the day of arrival with results available within three to five hours. A few tests are done less often or are sent away to other hospital laboratories for testing. These results may take as long as 4 weeks before they are reported.

Immunology is the study of a patient’s immune system. We measure antibodies related to non-infectious diseases and to challenges such as allergies. Immunology testing is less automated than Biochemistry and results usually take about a week before they are available. Less common tests are sent to laboratories in Sheffield.

We have procedures in place to ensure that every part of the process is performed perfectly. Most samples pass through the laboratories with no problem at all but things will, occasionally, go wrong and when it does go wrong we have systems in place to detect and correct the problem.

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