Find out how to get in touch with our laboratories during and outside of normal, working hours.

The Pathology laboratories are routinely open Monday - Friday from 08.30 to 17.00 (except Bank Holidays).

The Chemical Pathology, Haematology and Blood Transfusion laboratories also offer a routine service on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 09.30 to 12.00.

Outside of these hours, the individual laboratories may offer a full service, a restricted service or an emergency on-call service. Out of hours services are generally restricted to those requests which require a rapid response for urgent patient management. Please check under the individual department for specific details of the services offered.

Chemical Pathology

For urgent Primary Care requests, always telephone the laboratory whatever time of day. The sample must be packed in a separate bag to the routine specimens and clearly marked as "URGENT on the outside. Please note however that samples will not be treated as urgent unless a telephone call is received.

Acute Unit work is run regularly throughout the day and night with results normally available within a maximum of 4 hours, but if required very urgently for immediate clinical management reasons then please contact the laboratory.

The following tests are available 24 hours 7 days per week. Requests for tests not listed below and required urgently should be telephoned to the department.

  • UE LFT Gamma GT
  • Bone profile
  • CRP
  • Magnesium
  • Glucose
  • Amylase
  • Uric Acid
  • Lipids
  • CK
  • Troponin T
  • Conjugated bilirubin
  • Blood gas*
  • Carboxyhaemoglobin*
  • LDH
  • Salicylate
  • Paracetamol
  • Alcohol
  • CSF Glucose
  • CSF Protein

* There is no blood gas analyser available in the laboratory - please take samples to DCC or ED.

The following tests are available as urgent or on-call requests but a telephone call to the Chemical Pathology laboratory is alwaysrequired.

  • Ammonia
  • Carbamazepine
  • Digoxin
  • Iron
  • Lactate
  • Lithium
  • Phenobarbitone
  • Phenytoin
  • Theophylline
  • Creatinine - urine
  • Potassium - urine
  • Protein - urine
  • Sodium - urine

The analytical time for telephoned urgent work is usually less than 1 hour after sample receipt by the analysing laboratory.

If any unexpected delay is experienced in the return of results then please contact the laboratory. It is possible that there has been a breakdown in the transport arrangements of sample to the laboratory.

Contacting the Out of Hours Biochemistry Staff

A state registered biomedical scientist (BMS) is always available and may be contacted on:-

Cheltenham General Hospital:

  • During normal working hours Cheltenham 3420 or bleep 1589
  • Between 10pm and 7am Monday to Friday (8pm - 8am at weekends) use bleep number 2136 or you can continue to use Cheltenham ext. 3420 (which will be diverted to the Gloucester Urgent telephone extension 5232)

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital: Gloucester 5232 or bleep 2136

A clinical support service is available from the Consultant Chemical Pathologist or deputy via the on-call BMS.

Blood Transfusion, Haematology and Immunology

The objective of the out of hours service is to perform investigations that require a rapid response for the clinical management of the patient. The service will also be used to supply blood and blood products to patients who cannot wait until the next routine day. If the investigations are not going to change the management of the patient, then they will be performed on the next routine run.

For investigations that are not required immediately (other than blood products) there is no need to contact the BMS. Any of the investigations listed below which are sent to the laboratory will be processed in batches. If the investigation requires immediate processing, then contact the BMS.

Contacting the Out of Hours Staff

A registered biomedical scientist (BMS) is always available and may be contacted on:

Cheltenham General Hospital: Cheltenham 4058 or bleep 1551

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital: Gloucester 5242 or bleep 2502

A consultant hematologist is available for clinical advice at all times and may be contacted via the Hospital switchboard.

Urgent Tests

Range of tests available out of hours:

  • Full Blood Count
  • Blood film examination (where appropriate)
  • Reticulocyte count
  • Malaria screen
  • Urgent ESRs
  • Sickle Cell screen (solubility)
  • Clotting Screens / INRs / APTT Ratios
  • D-Dimers for DVT/PE screen or suspected DIC
  • Factor VIII Assay (in extreme cases)
  • Group and Antibody screen
  • Urgent crossmatches and Issue of appropriate blood products and components

No Immunology tests are performed out of hours.


Out of hours, contact the switchboard.

  • To order urgent tests ask for the on call Microbiology Biomedical Scientist.
  • For clinical advice ask for the duty Consultant Microbiologist
  • For infection control enquiries contact the Duty Lead Nurse.

Urgent samples

An emergency call-out service is offered for urgent samples outside of normal hours.

These investigations are carried out by a Microbiology Biomedical Scientist (BMS). Usually this person will be at home on stand-by. Arrangements for an on-call investigation must be made directly with the on call BMS.

Remember there is no Microbiology laboratory at CGH, so do NOT pod samples to pathology. Follow the Urgent specimen transport for Microbiology guidelines.

  • Arrange specimen transport to the Microbiology laboratory at GRH.
  • If you use a porter, please make sure that they know the sample is urgent.
  • Call the switchboard and ask for the Microbiology technician on call.
  • Do not call until you have taken the specimens and they are en route to the laboratory.

Clinical advice

The Consultant Microbiologists offer an out-of-hours service for urgent advice. There are restrictions on who may call for advice. For further information please see Healthcare worker access to Consultant Medical Microbiologists.

Cytology / Histology


There is no formal out of hours service in this department. In the event of an unplanned frozen section or other urgent problem contact the rota Consultant Histopathologist via the hospital switchboard.


There is no formal out of hours service in this department. In the event of an urgent problem, please contact the Consultant Histopathologist via the Cheltenham General Hospital switchboard.

If an urgent diagnosis is required contact the rota Consultant Histopathologist via the Cheltenham General Hospital switchboard.


There is an on-call service at weekends and public holidays for viewings, available from 8.00am to 12.00 midday on each day. The on-call Mortuary Assistant can be contacted via the switchboard during these hours.

Arrangements for viewings should be made between 8.00am and 10.00am, with the viewing carried out between 10.00am and 12.00 midday.