Microbiology Newsletter January 2020

January 31st, 2020

Microbiology Newsletter Jan 2020


January 29th, 2020


The Exeter Clinical Laboratory team based in the The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital are celebrating the fact that Rachel Nice, Senior Biomedical Scientist has recently secured a place on the highly prestigious Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship (CDRF) scheme, which encourages research in clinical settings.

This is a fantastic achievement given the scheme is extremely competitive, with only a handful of places being offered each year through the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). This will enable Rachel to undertake a fully funded PhD from September 2020, an incredibly exciting opportunity for her and the RD&E NHS Foundation Trust, as it enables Rachel to continue working in the Exeter Laboratory, retaining her vast knowledge and expertise in the hospital, whilst further embedding research into routine clinical care. This represents a new direction for the Trust who are jointly sponsoring the venture in collaboration with the University of Exeter Medical School.

 Over the last 15 years, Rachel has developed a passion for diagnostic testing research. Her project will aim to benefit patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease by investigating optimising laboratory methods for measuring antibodies to Anti-TNFα drugs, which help reduce inflammation. This is an exciting development in a highly specialist area of testing, of which Exeter Clinical Laboratory are leading experts in the UK and at the forefront of innovations in the field, really driving change to optimise how tests are used to benefit patient care and improve outcomes.

To find out more contact Rachel Nice


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.



Specialist Rapid Exome Sequencing Service coming 1st Oct 2019

September 24th, 2019

The Rapid Exome Sequencing Service for acutely unwell children with a likely monogenic disorder (R14) run by our Exome team will be available from 1st October 2019.

Please contact the Exome team with any questions: or

Exeter molecular genetics laboratory are recruiting!

June 13th, 2019

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Exeter Molecular Genetics Laboratory as a Band 7 Clinical Scientist.

The department of Molecular Genetics at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust is at the forefront of NHS Genomic Medicine, providing state-of-the-art diagnostic testing services that utilise specialist gene panel, exome and genome analyses to make diagnoses for the benefit of families with rare diseases across the UK and beyond.

Full details of the role and how to apply can be found here:

Closing date is Thursday 27th June 2019.


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‘

GP Order Communications System (GP OCS)

May 14th, 2019

It is a pleasure to be able to finally advise you that the long awaited implementation of a GP Order Communications System (GP OCS) is now under way.

The aim of the project is to offer an electronic Pathology test ordering system for GP Practices sending samples to the RD&E, with this project both orders and results will be sent and shared electronically with the GP requesting the tests.

The system supplier has estimated it will take approximately 26 weeks to build the system and roll out to 5 pilot GP practices; we therefore are estimating delivery during the latter part of Q3, early part of Q4 of this calendar year.  The team will then roll out to the remaining sites, planning for 3 practices a week to go live; this is expected to take a further 3-4 months.

The project team with the supplier are currently developing the roll out schedule for this new system, should your Practice like to be one of the early adopters of this exciting project please contact the Programme Team at the following address:-

Chris Carr – Pathology Computer Systems Manager
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust     Email:

Should you have any queries relating to the project delivery please contact:

Richard Excell – IM&T Programme Manager
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust     Email:

The team at the Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust look forward to working closely with you on this exciting project.

Sarah Hodder                                                                                                                                                                                                    Diagnostic Cluster Manager


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.

Microbiology User Survey Report

February 15th, 2019

Microbiology User Survey Report 2018

Microbiology Molecular Update

February 10th, 2019

We are delighted to inform our users that we have now taken delivery of and verified a random access Nucleic-Acid-Amplification-Test platform, called EliTech.

As of 4th February 2019, we will be performing NAATs on CSF for the following targets:

  • HSV1 and 2
  • VZV
  • Enterovirus
  • Parechovirus

This will replace the current referred service in Bristol and will give much better turnaround times (currently 2-3 days, down to a next day result). We really hope this will have a good impact on patient care, allowing speedier diagnosis and decision making, and limit the amount of intravenous acyclovir currently being used whilst waiting for results.

Allied to this, using the same technology, we also now offer the following NAATs test on-site, again significantly improving turnaround  times:

  • CMV viral load           ]
  • EBV viral load            ] on patients with severe immunosuppression
  • BK viral load              ]
  • HSV vaginal swabs – on any patient with symptoms

If anyone would like to know more, please contact Microbiology via the email service:

Dr Cressida Auckland