Cellular Pathology User Survey Results 2020

January 13th, 2021

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to respond to our annual survey in 2020; we know it has been a particularly difficult year.

The big positive for us was that 100% of respondents would recommend the service to a colleague:

Suggestions for improvement:

You said: Better staffing to keep up with ever increasing demand.

We said: The teams are working hard to ensure they can keep up with demand for the service and management are actively monitoring staffing levels. Currently the cellular pathology department has 4 BMS trainees, two newly qualified BMS, two newly qualified specialist BMS, and has recruited 2 additional pathologists.

You said: No on call service is not really good enough in this day and age.

You said: No regional out of hours for Christmas, Easter or emergency histology cover for the once per year onc emergency cord comp scvo etc

We said: We will put your concerns to our Divisional Managers, however the need for out of hours or emergency histology is extremely infrequent and on-call funding may not be granted in Exeter.

General comments given about the laboratory service:

  • The cytology service is particularly excellent with a rapid turnaround of results for patients with lung cancer.
  • It is difficult to be totally objective about the lab as we’ve just had such a big system change going to MyCare.
  • Good quality service with excellent staff and quality opinions.
  • The cytopathology team are well-organised, well-trained, highly motivated and extremely dedicated; continually evaluating their service to ensure they deliver and develop the best possible service for patients and clinicians.


October 6th, 2020

Please note that Cellular Pathology (Histology and Cytology) will only receipt and process samples from electronic requests from within the MYCARE systems following go-live on the 10th October 2020.

In the event that paper requests are received the specimen will not be processed until we contact the clinical team and ask that they provide an electronic request and print a specimen label. The specimen label must be brought to the  laboratory so clinical teams can identify the specimen and label it safely.

When booking a histology frozen section, the laboratory staff will be requesting that you do this electronically.

Exeter Laboratory Newsletter September 2020

October 6th, 2020

Exeter Laboratory Newsletter September 2020

SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infections FAQs

June 19th, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 infections

Pathology Newsletter June 2020

June 4th, 2020

Pathology Newsletter June 2020

RD&E Covid-19 Testing Service

May 22nd, 2020

Dear colleagues

Did you know that the RD&E is providing a COVID-19 testing service for all symptomatic* health and care staff working or living in North and Eastern Devon?

Health and care staff with a symptomatic household member can also use the testing service.

To book a slot, simply complete this online referral form or call 01626 204950.

If you have any questions, please email

Kind regards,

The RD&E Testing Service



May 20th, 2020

Please note that during the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Cellular Pathology department is working as usual, with the following exceptions:

  • Unfixed histological specimens with suspected or known  Covid-19 for direct immunofluorescence will NOT be processed.
  • Unfixed histological specimens with suspected or known  Covid-19 for frozen sections will NOT be processed.
  • Seminal fluid specimens with suspected or known  Covid-19 for post-vasectomy semen analysis will NOT be processed.


These measures are in place to protect the health and well being of the laboratory staff.

Genomics COVID-19 Update 19/05/2020

May 19th, 2020

For the latest information regarding genomic laboratory services please read the most recent update is here.

Microbiology – Changes to Sample Processing during Covid-19

April 7th, 2020

Clear Urine
During the COVID pandemic, clear urine samples are not being processed. Infection is unlikely when the urine appears clear. Consider repeat sample or empirical treatment following NICE guidelines.

Sputum samples
Non-mucoid samples will not be processed as poor quality samples. Consider repeat sample if clinically indicated.

Superficial wound swabs
Specimens will not processed if there is a lack of clinical details. Please consider if this sample is clinically required and would change management. Promote good wound care and only consider antimicrobial therapy for superficial wounds when there is spreading cellulitis.

Mycology testing
During the COVID pandemic, mycology samples are not being processed. Repeat samples should not be sent until the laboratory can confirm they will be processed.

Faecal samples 
During the COVID pandemic, non-bloody faecal samples will not be processed. Most cases of infectious gastroenteritis are self-limiting and do not require treatment. If there are specific concerns in an immunocompromised patient, please discuss case directly with microbiologist via email

Please note, faecal sample processing is limited to direct culture for Salmonella, enrichment culture will not take place. If high clinical concern of Salmonella, please consider sending a repeat sample if initial sample negative.

MRSA testing is restricted to admission to high risk in-patient areas – ITU, NNU, vascular surgery, elective orthopaedic surgery, renal and haematology/oncology. Please do not send swabs from patients in other areas unless previously positive.

COVID-19 Update for Genomics Laboratory

March 30th, 2020

For information regarding important changes to genomic laboratory services in accordance with national recommendations from NHSE, please read the COVID-19 Update here.