Cellular Pathology News

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.


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.


March 24th, 2020

The Cytology department hosted a farewell party on Friday 13th March at Buckerell Lodge, Exeter. We would like to thank everyone who attended, it was a wonderful evening.

We held a raffle with NINE fantastic prizes, all proceeds going towards Jo’s  cervical cancer trust, the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity.


We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations and congratulations to those who won prizes…  we raised £226 !!!

The Cytology department would like to thank all those involved with cervical screening for their dedication and professionalism over the years. We wish you all the best of luck for the future.


February 26th, 2020


Devon and Cornwall

Communications were sent out on the 3rd of September 2019 by the Head of Public Health Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement – South West to confirm that the processing and reporting of all cervical screening samples taken in your practice will transfer to Severn Pathology, North Bristol NHS Trust.

This change will be effective for all samples taken on and after the 18th March 2020 onwards for all practices in Devon and Cornwall.

All cervical samples sent to Severn Pathology will undergo testing for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the first instance (HPV primary screening). The result of the HPV test determines whether or not cytology testing is also carried out.


Cervical Screening Requests – Open Exeter

Please be aware of the following changes in the requesting process which may require action for your practice:

Electronic requesting systems (including ICE and other order communications platforms) will no longer be used for cervical screening samples. Any practices currently using electronic requesting for cervical screening requests will have this functionality switched off from the date of service transfer. Any electronic requesting currently used for other pathology requests will remain unchanged.

All sample takers will require access to Open Exeter and should request access from their practice manager if they do not currently have it.

A guide to using Open Exeter for this purpose is attached to this communication.


Electronic Reporting of Cervical Screening Results

Cervical screening results will be sent electronically from Severn Pathology, North Bristol NHS Trust to all GP practice clinical systems.

There may be a period of a few days where you will receive reports from both the new and previous provider on different patients.


Direct Referrals from the Laboratory to Colposcopy

Direct referrals will be made from the laboratory at Severn Pathology, North Bristol NHS Trust following the service transfer but practices will not notice any change in the referral process. Your patients will continue to be referred to the same colposcopy clinic as previously.


Sample Taker Consumables

Severn Pathology will be requesting that all cervical screening samples be transported in new bags which will have orange swirls with a white outline. The bags will be provided with the sample taker consumable kits. Existing kits and bags can be used up before switching over. The current arrangements in place for requesting sample taker kits will remain unchanged until further notice.


Sample Transport

Existing arrangements are expected to remain for the collection of cervical screening samples from practices for onward delivery to Bristol from a network of local hubs which will be a mixture of existing and newly created collection points. You will be notified if this changes.

For more information please see:


Or speak to your cervical screening sample taker training lead.


For  ALL laboratory queries please contact the Cytology department at Severn Pathology on 0117 414 9810.

Katherine Hunt, Lead Biomedical Scientist, Cytology

Dr Karin Denton, Lead Cytopathologist

Website: https://www.nbt.nhs.uk/severn-pathology/pathology-services/cellular-pathology/cytology



All cervical screening sample requests will need to be made via Open Exeter using the pre-populated HMR101 (editable) printed request form.

Sample taker PIN codes and clinical details should be typed into the relevant boxes, which will eliminate issues for the laboratory with hand-written forms.

Once the HMR101 request form is complete, please ensure you print the A4 PDF version directly from Open Exeter.

1.Enter patient’s NHS number:


2. On top left hand corner click on HMR101 editable form:


3. Type sample taker PIN code and enter clinical details:


4. Select A4 PDF:

5. Click Open and a PDF version of the pre-populated request form with typed sample taker PIN code and clinical history will open.

6. Click print from the Open Exeter form menu



There will be no changes to sample taker PIN ID’s – please continue to use existing PINs when requested cervical screening tests.

Please obtain new PIN IDs from your usual source.



January 10th, 2020

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the Cellular Pathology user survey in 2019

Overall Cellular Pathology service:

87.5% of responders would rate The Cellular Pathology Service either Good or Excellent

You said
Always approachable and helpful.
• Feel that the department is under a lot of pressure, but works hard to get our results out quickly and accurately. In house HER2 would be awesome!
• Out of hours pathology for oncologic emergencies not available. No ability to incorporate genomic data in the pathology.
• Fabulous one stop clinic help from Cytology.
We said
• HER2 is centrally funded and therefore currently cannot be carried out on this site.
• Unfortunately the Cell Path team are not responsible for reporting genomic results and so we have no control over the way genomic data is reported.
• Many thanks – We always aim to provide an excellent ROSE service for all of our users.

Turnaround Times:
You said
• Sometimes turnaround times for Histology are reasonable for H&E 3-5 days, but often not.
We said
• We are working on recruiting more Pathologists to improve our turnaround times

Quality and clinical relevance of reports:
You said
• When slides go off to backlogs the reports are of varying quality and there is often an unacceptable delay in getting slides back.
We said
• We are working on recruiting more Pathologists to avoid sending slides away.



Many thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the Cervical Cytology user survey in 2019.

94% of responders would rate The Cervical Cytology Service either Good or Excellent.

You Said
Have just had a look and added to my favourites – it looks good.
• Very clear always found all the info I needed.
• Just found it and accessed it without difficulty, very informative.

Availability and quality of technical and clinical advice
The advice and assistance I have received has been very helpful.
• Not accessed it yet.
• Rang the lab a few times and have always found them to be very helpful and efficient.
• Always willing to answer queries in a timely fashion, really helpful.

Quality of sample taker training
I visited as part of my training. Extremely helpful staff and made to feel very welcome.

We said:
• Many thanks for your comments – they are appreciated.

Transport of samples:
You said:
As a Practice of 15,500 pts we only get a 1x daily courier collection. A further pm collection would be desirable.
We said:
• As the laboratory turnaround times are within the 14 days, it is not considered essential to increase the number of collections at this time.
You said:
Slight confusion since the addition of the orange bags – it’s a lot of plastic – can more than one sample go into an orange bag at a time, and is anyone looking at more eco-friendly options?
We said:
• We will investigate the use of biodegradable bags as an alternative to plastic.




May 20th, 2019

** HPV Primary Screening Roll Out Update for North, East and Mid Devon Regions **

Early implementation of HPV Primary Screening for North, East and Mid Devon Regions will be commencing in the laboratory from 13th May 2019 (this will involve all tests dated 10th May 2019).  This primary HPV testing will be carried out at the Exeter Cytology Laboratory.

For more information please see ‘HPV Primary Screening Roll Out for North, East and Mid Devon Regions‘


February 27th, 2019

Many thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the Cellular Pathology user survey in 2018

You said
• More pathologists so more prompt results

• They appear to be under the greatest pressure in terms of staffing

• Consider using non paper forms to help reduce errors

• I would like to be able to access results via SystmOne for the RD&E

• Takes up to 3 weeks to give us a prostate biopsy result. This creates huge problems with our cancer pathway

• The number of patients for MDT discussion are capped. 30 patients only. This causes a delay in patient pathway.

We said
• We are in the process of implementing a new IT system which will improve the reporting process and build efficiencies into our laboratory systems. Results will be produced electronically. We are also installing a ordering communication system for GPs so that tests can be requested and reports received electronically.

• We are working on expanding our team in order to continue to meet the requirements of our service users.

You said
• Already very good (response to how might services be improved)

• Excellent service, but under-resourced, hence a long turnaround time for biopsies, which impacts on patient care

• Histopathology are working extremely effectively for the lung MDT a really outstanding service. Not only speed but excellent considered opinions.

• Speedy turnaround time. An excellent service

• The RDE Labs provide an excellent service on the whole & are always very polite & helpful when Clinicians ring for advice or email

We said
• We are delighted that our users are positive about our service. We will continue to act on your feedback to ensure our service is continuously improved.

Update to Cervical Cytology Services – HPV Primary Screening Roll Out for Cornwall and Torbay Areas

October 1st, 2018

** HPV Primary Screening Roll Out Update for Cornwall and Torbay Areas **

A recent communication from NHS England on 19th September 2018 announced the early implementation of HPV Primary Screening for Cornwall and Torbay areas from mid-November 2018. This primary HPV testing will be carried out at the Exeter Cytology Laboratory.

For more information please see ‘HPV Primary Screening Roll Out for Cornwall and Torbay Areas

PVSA Request Form *UPDATE*

April 24th, 2018

Please use updated PVSA request form for all future PVSA requests.