Laboratory Medicine

Blood Sciences

The Department of Blood Sciences offers the widest range of in-house tests in North East England - we perform over 10 million tests every year. 

The service is provided from two laboratory sites: the Freeman Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary. Most specimens from GPs are investigated at the Freeman Hospital, but some low volume tests are transferred to the RVI.

Our two-site approach means that if one analyser were to fail, specimens can be transported across the city and investigated overnight.

Our service

The department is led by consultants and provided by scientific, technical, clerical and medical staff who undertake:

  • research
  • undergraduate and post-graduate teaching
  • clinical trials
  • case conferences
  • diagnostic services to primary and secondary care users.

We are also a regional centre for a broad range of specialised tests, underpinned by a clinical advisory and interpretation service.

Regional antenatal Downs screening and newborn screening services are also provided by the department, both of which have an excellent reputation locally and across the UK.

The department is made up of eight sections, all led by specialist consultant medical staff and experienced scientists. Specialist advice in all of these areas is always available when required.

Acute Core 24/7

This section carries out:

  • U&E, LFT, Bone, Thyroid Function, Tumour Markers, Cardiac Markers, CRP and most high volume tests
  • Full Blood Counts
  • Blood Cell Morphology
  • Glandular Fever Testing  
  • Routine Coagulation and Anticoagulant Monitoring
  • Special Coagulation Testing
  • This section is manned 24/7 365 and responds to emergency requests from all users

Blood Transfusion 24/7

This section carries out:

  • Blood grouping and antibody screening by Automated and Manual techniques
  • Crossmatching of blood by Automated and Manual techniques
  • Antibody identification
  • Antigen identification
  • Ante Natal serology techniques
  • Preparation of Platelets and the reception and distribution of blood and blood products
  • This section is manned 24/7 365 and responds to emergency requests from all users

Special Laboratory

This section carries out:

  • Investigation of Thalassaemias and abnormal Haemoglobins
  • Bone Marrow processing
  • Blood cell cytochemical-staining techniques
  • Blood cell Markers
  • Blood cell enzyme deficiency investigation
  • Immunosupressant Drug Testing
  • Metadrenalines and 5HIAA
  • Intrinsic Factor antibody detection
  • The investigation of Thrombophilia disorders


This section carries out:

  • Specialised hormone assays of Renin, Aldosterone,C-Peptide, Insulin, Vitamin D and other endocrine tests
  • Assays are batched to reduce costs and generally have a longer turnaround time.

Metabolic Paediatric

This section carries out:

  • Specialised measurement of metabolite assays including Amino and Organic Acid profiles
  • The section supports diagnosis and monitoring of complex metabolic disease for the wider North East region.


This section carries out:

  • Myeloma Screen
  • Urine Electrophoresis
  • Paraprotein Monitoring
  • Complement Levels C3/C4
  • Immunoglobulins

Autoimmunity and Allergy

This section carries out:

  • Autoantibody Screen
  • Rheumatoid Factor
  • Coeliac Screen
  • Double Stranded DNA (dsDNA) Antibodies
  • Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP) Antibodies
  • Total IgE
  • Allergen Specific IgE

Flow Cytometry

This section carries out a comprehensive specialised service for the diagnosis and monitoring of immune deficiency and haematological oncology.  

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