Out of Hours Microbiology Service

On-call repertoire 

Samples will only be processed out of hours if the on-call Biomedical Scientist (BMS) has been paged via Switchboard 
Microbiological investigations should only be requested on-call if the results are likely to influence patient management. This may arise either because initial management will be affected by results available immediately or because the specimen is unrepeatable and fastidious organisms may die if cultures are not inoculated immediately. 

The following investigations will normally be accepted without question:

  • CSF 
  • Pre-dialysis Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Pre-transplant serological testing 

If clear clinical reasons are given, then the following may be accepted

  • Aspirates of normally sterile fluids (e.g. aqueous/vitreous humor; pleural; ascitic joint and CAPD)
  • Pus or tissue from theatre 
  • Invasive lower respiratory tract samples (e.g. BAL) 
  • Throat swabs for Neisseria meningitidis culture
  • Urine microscopy/culture (These will only be processed before midnight)
  • Source testing in inoculation injuries (according to Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust procedure for the management of inoculation injuries (available on Trustnet) 

Blood cultures will be processed without the need for telephoning. In cases of doubt, the on-call BMS may refer any request to the on-call Consultant Microbiologist for authorisation. 

Review Status

Reviewed September 2018 
This page will be updated December 2018

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