Laboratory Medicine


The Department of Microbiology tests a wide range of patient and environmental specimens to detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

Microbiology is a joint laboratory operated by both The Newcastle Hospitals Trust and Public Health England. We provide one of the most comprehensive test portfolios in the UK - a one-stop shop for all Microbiology tests.

We also offer the widest range of clinical and technical expertise through on site Consultant Microbiologists and Virologists. Expert medical advice is always available. The department has the only Consultant Virologists in the North East Region. The department embraces research and development with dedicated R+D laboratories .

The department is based on two sites in Newcastle:

  • The main Microbiology laboratory including Bacteriology, Mycology, Enterics and Parasitology, Serology, GUM, Infection Control laboratory and the Regional TB Laboratory at the Freeman Hospital.
  • The Molecular and PCR unit on the Royal Victoria Infirmary site.


The range of tests includes urine analysis with rapid microscopy performed using a state of the art analyser. Other bacteriology services include:

  • wound analysis
  • respiratory culture
  • GUM
  • blood culture analysis.

The department is the first in the region to introduce a MALDI-TOF identification system which identifies bacterial pathogens in minutes. Full antimicrobial susceptibility testing always provided on potential pathogens.

Enterics and Parasitology

Testing on-site is available for all enteric pathogens including Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter and E.coli 0157. Others are examined for depending upon clinical details, eg Vibrio species.

Enteric and other samples with relevant clinical details will be examined for parasites.

We also have close links with the regional Health Protection Team for outbreak analysis.

Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM)

We examine samples for a wide range of organisms including N. gonorrhoeae and all conventional bacterial and fungal pathogens. Trichomonas examination is performed where clinical details suggest and on request. Full Chlamydia testing is available through our partnership with the Newcastle PHE laboratory


A Mycology service to the region is offered and culture for all fungal pathogens is available. A full antifungal susceptibility service is offered.


The Regional TB Reference Laboratory on the Freeman site provides a comprehensive service. This includes staining, culture, identification, susceptibility testing, typing and rapid TB PCR.


A comprehensive serology testing service is available on-site. This service includes analysis for: all hepatitis markers, HIV, syphilis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Parvovirus, CMV, EBV, Toxoplasma, Herpes, VZV, ASOT, fungal antigens, HTLV I/II, Pneumocystis, Pneumococci, Cryptococcus etc.

Confirmatory testing is performed in-house.

Expert technical and consultant virologist advice is available.

Infection Control

A dedicated testing facility is available for MRSA screening and C.difficile toxin analysis with some of the lowest turnaround times in the UK. Infection control advice is always available.

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